Sun, Sep. 02, 2007

Spyware by Statute

CK - Washington.   Proposals by Wolfgang Schäuble, the German Secretary of the Interior, to restate and expand the jurisdiction of the Federal Crime Agency, Bundeskriminalamt, and the Federal Police, Bundespolizei, trigger heated comments on the Internet in Germany. One of the most debated issues is an authorization for the government to inject spyware into computers.

A document published by Chaos Computer Club purports to represent a bill currently circulated among federal agencies that in §20(k) would authorize such activities, including the use of key-logging programs in the surveillance of suspects. The July 11, 2007 document is entitled Draft of a Statute for the Prevention of Dangers of International Terrorism by the Federal Crime Agency, Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Abwehr von Gefahren des internationalen Terrorismus durch das Bundeskriminalamt. The Lichtenrader Notizen blog links to it.

The lengthy purported bill contains numerous provisions to protect citizen data while permitting agencies to stop, detain, seek identification from, monitor, track, tap, record voice and video of, and question persons. These activities are usually subject to prior court authorization and limited in duration, the planned statute states in various procedural rules that relate to general German criminal law and criminal procedural law.

Art. 5 on page 32 of the draft states that the bill would affect certain constitutional rights: Liberty under Art. 2(2)(2) of the Constitution; mail and communications under Art. 10; inviolability of the residence under Art. 13. The data protection rules mostly require the agencies to delete acquired data quickly.

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