Security

Outrage over Germany's plan for "policeware"

Germany's plan for policewareYou might recall that we ran a story about two months ago on a CNET News.com survey. In Warning: Police spyware detected!, News.com approached various antispyware vendors on their willingness to hide police-sanctioned spyware, or "policeware."

As noted in the article, the impromptus for the survey came about as a result of the deployment of policeware. Federal agents in the United States were utilizing a keystroke logger to thwart the encryption used by a suspected ecstasy manufacturer. Indeed, it is a topic that many TR members feel strongly about, judging from the more than 200 comments posted.

Well, it appears that this growing propensity towards police spyware it not limited to the United States alone. In fact, it appears to have crossed the Atlantic to Europe. According to Ars Technica, a scandal is brewing in Germany as revelations spread that the German government has plans to use Trojans as well as other form of malware to spy on and track "persons of interests."

Excerpt from Ars Technica:

News of the plan was leaked last week and reported widely in Germany… The idea is backed by the office of Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

The "policeware," when successfully installed, would be used to monitor the communications of suspected terrorists, as well as allow for remote searching of the PC's contents.

In fact, it might be of interest that Germany is pointing to the United S. as an example of where the use of policeware is justifiable, citing the 2001 case.

To read more:

Much of the information pertaining to the insertion vector for the proposed policeware remains classified. However, speculations abound that the most common of these tools run only on Windows.

If that is proven to be the case, will run-on-Windows-only-policeware influence your decision to switch to Linux and/or Mac OS X?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

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