Privacy

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
bnd, dragnet, germany, surveillance



Court Says German Intelligence Agency Can Continued To Deploy Its Dragnet On World's Largest Internet Hub

from the court:-dump-pipes-shouldn't-worry-about-end-users dept

The post-Snowden effects on Germany's surveillance architecture have been muted. Oversight in the US is a joke, but it's marginally better than what's being offered in other countries. You'd think a country that survived almost-consecutive crushing surveillance states would be a bit more cautious about deploying dragnets. Not so. All evidence points to German surveillance programs flourishing under the lack of effective oversight, limited only by technical prowess rather than concerns for those swept up by them.

Internal investigations prompted by revelations seemed like a step forward, but the government gave German surveillance programs a thumbs up three years later. The information revealed by Snowden and other leakers did give residents and advocates enough ammunition for legal battles, but the German courts haven't really given them anything in return.

David Meyer of ZDNet reports a court has handed a win to Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) in a lawsuit filed by Frankfort's De-Cix, the largest internet hub in the world. The BND has tapped this for years, sweeping up massive amounts of data and communications, and frequently passing this on to surveillance partners around the world. De-Cix was compliant until 2016, when it decided to sue BND for violating German law.

Until a revision to German law last year, the Federal Intelligence Service, Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND, could only inspect up to 20 percent of the traffic flowing through the hub.

That traffic amounts to over 5TB per second of information coming from and going to places all over the world. The 'G10 law' also says the agency can only inspect international communications.

However, De-Cix's 2016 complaint said the BND was scooping up the lot, without any targeting. It also said the agency was illegally monitoring internal German communications as part of those activities, as its filters for emails involving a .de address did not work properly.

Unfortunately, the allegations of illegal spying won't be examined. The court has decided De-Cix cannot bring this lawsuit, which is nominally on behalf of those being illegally spied on (end users). The court says De-Cix just routes traffic, and as such, cannot allege harm.

De-Cix isn't happy with this ruling.

De-Cix said in a statement that it finds it "incomprehensible" that the Leipzig court failed to deal with the BND's alleged violations, as detailed by the exchange. It added that everyone's privacy rights are now solely in the hands of the government's intelligence oversight committee.

German residents shouldn't be happy with it either. What's been shown repeatedly in the wake of the Snowden leaks is that government oversight of surveillance agencies and programs is weak, ineffective, and frequently given little to no information to work with. The powers granted by various national security laws make the problem worse by expanding surveillance powers and reining it whatever's left of their oversight. Recent years have seen some reform efforts put in place, but beyond making hypocritical noise about the NSA's surveillance of German politicians, not much has been done on the legislative front in Germany, other than to codify abusive surveillance to make it more resistant to legal challenges.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 4:40am

    immigrants

    One could argue that if Germany had not taken in millions of immigrants from the middle east & north africa, there would not be much need to conduct such a massive nationwide spying operation to try to root out emerging Islamic terrorist networks that would otherwise develop if intelligence agencies were to do nothing about it (or so the thinking goes).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 6:35am

      Re: immigrants

      One could argue that such arguments are moot.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 7:31am

      Re: immigrants

      One could also argue that if Germany had not been infiltrated by LIZARD PEOPLE, there would not be so much need to conduct such a massive nationwide spying operation to try to root out nesting sites that would otherwise develop if intelligence agencies were to do nothing about it (or so the thinking goes).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 7 Jun 2018 @ 6:18am

    Typos

    Headline "Can Continued" --> "Can Continue".

    Feel free to delete this comment.

    E

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 7:49am

    Universal encryption

    Universal encryption

    And here we find another reason to push for universal encryption.. In transit and at rest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    afn29129 (profile), 7 Jun 2018 @ 7:51am

    2nd try.. Universal encryption

    Universal encryption

    And here we find another reason to push for universal encryption.. In transit and at rest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Jun 2018 @ 7:53am

    Amazingly they never can produce a factual report of any real threats this scoop it all up system gives.

    I would like to point out all of the terrorism plots that have happened during this grab it all fiesta... its almost like they are missing important things staying focused on getting more...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Obvious Troll, 7 Jun 2018 @ 8:12am

    WWHD

    They need to ask themselves, What Would Hitler Do?

    I believe they're doing it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 8:29am

    just about every country is doing the same thing but denying they are doing anything! the whole planet is being turned into a giant surveilled state where only the rich, the powerful and the famous, along with the friends of each of them have any rights. we, the ordinary people, are being exploited on a minute by minute basis and every semblance of privacy and freedom is being removed. the problem is, it wont end well and eventually there will be a massive revolt because the people wont stay suppressed and enslaved forever!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 9:09am

    The court says De-Cix just routes traffic, and as such, cannot allege harm.

    Observe the irony here, that in Germany third parties cannot allege legal harm to themselves based on content created by others, but that they are legally responsible for harm caused by content created by others.

    I would also point out the likelihood that De-Cix does not actually use the internet itself to be vanishingly small, and the likelihood that De-Cix does use the internet but does not route any of its traffic through its own hub to be even smaller. That is, they clearly are the source of some traffic and are therefore clearly have standing on behalf of themselves, if not necessarily others.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.