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Monday, October 29, 2012

Germany Spying on Its Citizens

Everyone knows that Germans are a bit sensitive about digital privacy, but now it appears the German government has no problems with spying on its citizens. Many Germans were very surprised to know that they are being constantly monitored.

Recently the German authorities admitted that the police monitor such communication services as Skype and Facebook chat, along with major mail services, including Yahoo Mail, Google Mail, and MSN Hotmail. According to the government, the services are monitored “as and when necessary”, but still very precisely.

The information about such activity of the police force was released in frames of a move towards financial transparency of the government. The matter is that the authorities had to release figures of expenses incurred by the Federal Ministry of the Interior under a parliamentary inquiry.

The expenses for spying were hiding in pile of the facts and figures provided by the government. The annalist blog found them, which decided that investigating a shedloads of financial data was better than everything else on German TV. They were digging through the financial reports, when they ran into the page where cost for decoding software for the mail services, including Google Mail, MSN Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail, was listed. The purpose of the expenses on software said “for prevention and investigation”.

It was later that a mention of monitoring system for Skype was found. It turned out that the Ministry of the Interior has spent a lot of money on Trojan viruses and IMSI catchers. This kind of software is being used for “man-in-the-middle” attacks on cell phones widely employed by German police. In other words, the belief that the police are constantly monitoring people is quite real.

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