In Germany, a new law is expected to be passed that lets the German police hack into mobile phones to further prevent crime. The tool the German police plans to use is the “Staatstrojaner”. The Staatstrojaner is a government trojan used to prevent terrorist attacks, but under this new law, this malware and other malwares can be used to secure criminals for more than 70 types of crime.
These crimes can include counterfeiting, vehicle theft, computer fraud, rigged betting, tax evasion, and more serious crimes like treason, genocide and murder. The new trojans will allow authorities to eavesdrop on mobile phone calls (both telephone and VoIP) and to access information on devices.
While the law’s powers seem very broad, the way it is being passed is even more concerning. Since Germany has a natural suspicion of the government, the ruling coalition of the German parties are introducing the new surveillance powers to unrelated legislation. The unrelated legislation allows the German courts to push forward driving bans for small crimes–which while unrelated to surveillance, allows the German parliament to move forward with the new trojans under low visibility.
The new law seems to be voted on this week, and does appear to be supported by both German parties, which means it’ll pass. However, in the past, German’s court ruled that such technologies and surveillance could only be used if factual information was found regarding crimes.
“The secret infiltration of an information technology system by means of which the use of the system can be monitored and its storage media can be read is constitutionally only permissible if factual indications exist of a concrete danger to a predominantly important legal interest. Predominantly important are the life, limb and freedom of the individual or such interests of the public a threat to which affects the basis or continued existence of the state or the basis of human existence.”
So while in the past, this was the basis for denying invasive surveillance powers, the new law seems to disregard the use of factual indications of concrete danger. The new law allows the use of infiltration technology for crimes that do not include danger or a threat to human existence. This means that it is almost certain the new law will create huge controversies with human rights organizations.
By using a VPN in Germany, you can protect your own information even if you are not a criminal. Privacy is something to be protected since without it, you can unintentionally leak information to the government which can then be hacked, stolen, or misplaced. If you value your data and privacy, the only way to truly protect it is with online encryption like TorGuard. We use AES-256 and OpenVPN/Openconnect protocols along with highly optimized German VPN servers to provide a flawless online experience that is secure.