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Paul Merrell

A New Era of Mass Surveillance is Emerging Across Europe | Just Security - 1 views

  • The world was a different place when, in October 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) struck down the “Safe Harbour” data-sharing agreement that allowed the transfer of European citizens’ data to the US. The Court’s decision concluded that the indiscriminate nature of the surveillance programs carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies, exposed two years earlier by NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, had made it impossible to ensure that the personal data of E.U. citizens would be adequately protected when shared with American companies. The ruling thus served to further solidify the long-standing conventional wisdom that Continental Europe is better at protecting privacy than America. However, Europe’s ability to continue to take this moral high ground is rapidly declining. In recent months, and in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks across Europe, Germany, France and the United Kingdom — Europe’s biggest superpowers — have passed laws granting their surveillance agencies virtually unfettered power to conduct bulk interception of communications across Europe and beyond, with limited to no effective oversight or procedural safeguards from abuse.
Paul Merrell

Report: Germany Spied on FBI, US Companies, French Minister - 0 views

  • German public radio station rbb-Inforadio reported Wednesday that the country's foreign intelligence agency spied on the FBI and U.S. arms companies, adding to a growing list of targets among friendly nations the agency allegedly eavesdropped on.The station claimed that Germany's BND also spied on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the World Health Organization, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and even a German diplomat who headed an EU observer mission to Georgia from 2008 to 2011. It provided no source for its report, but the respected German weekly Der Spiegel also reported at the weekend that the BND targeted phone numbers and email addresses of officials in the United States, Britain, France, Switzerland, Greece, the Vatican and other European countries, as well as at international aid groups such as the Red Cross. The claims are particularly sensitive in Germany because the government reacted with anger two years ago to reports that the U.S. eavesdropped on German targets, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who declared at the time that "spying among friends, that's just wrong."German lawmakers have broadened a probe into the U.S. National Security Agency's activities in the country to include the work of the BND.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

While US and UK governments oppose encryption, Germany promotes it. Why? | ZDNet - 0 views

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    "Germany wants to become global encryption leader -- but the reasons for its stance are complex."
Paul Merrell

Germany's top prosecutor fired over treason probe - Yahoo News - 0 views

  • A treason investigation against two German journalists claimed its first casualty Tuesday — the country's top prosecutor who ordered the probe.
  • Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced he was seeking the dismissal of Harald Range hours after the chief federal prosecutor accused the government of interfering in his investigation.Maas said he made the decision in consultation with Chancellor Angela Merkel's office, indicating that the sacking was approved at the highest level.The Justice Ministry had questioned Range's decision to open the investigation against two journalists from the website Netzpolitik.org who had reported that Germany's domestic spy agency plans to expand surveillance of online communication.The treason probe was widely criticized and regarded as an embarrassment to the government. Senior officials stressed in recent days that Germany is committed to protecting press freedom.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Germany's Spies Grab 11 Billion Pieces Of Phone Metadata A Year -- And Pass On 6 Billio... - 1 views

    • Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.
       
      [U.S. Spying On Europe: EU Confronts Washington Reports Of Spying On Allies [06/30/2013] ]
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    "from the bad-sex dept Given Germany's high-profile attachment to privacy, it's always interesting to hear about ways in which its spies have been ignoring that tradition. Here, for example, is a story in the German newspaper Die Zeit about the country's foreign intelligence agency BND gathering metadata from millions of phone records every day: "
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    "from the bad-sex dept Given Germany's high-profile attachment to privacy, it's always interesting to hear about ways in which its spies have been ignoring that tradition. Here, for example, is a story in the German newspaper Die Zeit about the country's foreign intelligence agency BND gathering metadata from millions of phone records every day: "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Germany Expels Top US Intelligence Official, Says It Will (Officially) Spy Back On US A... - 1 views

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    [# ! Welcome to The #NWO # ! ... and , The #Citizens', caught in '#Their' #Crossfire...] "from the no-more-no-spy dept Techdirt has been following the complicated German reaction to Edward Snowden's revelations about US and UK surveillance of people in that country, whether or not in high places, for some while now. "
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    "from the no-more-no-spy dept Techdirt has been following the complicated German reaction to Edward Snowden's revelations about US and UK surveillance of people in that country, whether or not in high places, for some while now. "
Paul Merrell

Germany Fires Verizon Over NSA Spying - 0 views

  • Germany announced Thursday it is canceling its contract with Verizon Communications over concerns about the role of U.S. telecom corporations in National Security Agency spying. “The links revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms after the N.S.A. affair show that the German government needs a high level of security for its essential networks,” declared Germany’s Interior Ministry in a statement released Thursday. The Ministry said it is engaging in a communications overhaul to strengthen privacy protections as part of the process of severing ties with Verizon. The announcement follows revelations, made possible by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that Germany is a prime target of NSA spying. This includes surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone communications, as well as a vast network of centers that secretly collect information across the country. Yet, many have accused Germany of being complicit in NSA spying, in addition to being targeted by it. The German government has refused to grant Snowden political asylum, despite his contribution to the public record about U.S. spying on Germany.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Pirate Party Keeps a Seat At The European Parliament | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Ernesto on May 26, 2014 C: 6 Breaking A few hours after all polling booths across Europe closed, it now becomes clear that the Pirate Party has kept a seat at the European Parliament. The results show that the Pirates won one seat in Germany. That's also the only one, although the Czech Republic Pirates came awfully close. "
Paul Merrell

Merkel, Hollande to discuss European communication network avoiding U.S. - Yahoo News - 0 views

  • (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday she would talk to French President Francois Hollande about building up a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States.
Paul Merrell

German Parliament Says No More Software Patents | Electronic Frontier Foundation - 0 views

  • The German Parliament recently took a huge step that would eliminate software patents (PDF) when it issued a joint motion requiring the German government to ensure that computer programs are only covered by copyright. Put differently, in Germany, software cannot be patented. The Parliament's motion follows a similar announcement made by New Zealand's government last month (PDF), in which it determined that computer programs were not inventions or a manner of manufacture and, thus, cannot be patented.
  • The crux of the German Parliament's motion rests on the fact that software is already protected by copyright, and developers are afforded "exploitation rights." These rights, however, become confused when broad, abstract patents also cover general aspects of computer programs. These two intellectual property systems are at odds. The clearest example of this clash is with free software. The motion recognizes this issue and therefore calls upon the government "to preserve the precedence of copyright law so that software developers can also publish their work under open source license terms and conditions with legal security." The free software movement relies upon the fact that software can be released under a copyright license that allows users to share it and build upon others' works. Patents, as Parliament finds, inhibit this fundamental spread.
  • Just like in the New Zealand order, the German Parliament carved out one type of software that could be patented, when: the computer program serves merely as a replaceable equivalent for a mechanical or electro-mechanical component, as is the case, for instance, when software-based washing machine controls can replace an electromechanical program control unit consisting of revolving cylinders which activate the control circuits for the specific steps of the wash cycle This allows for software that is tied to (and controls part of) another invention to be patented. In other words, if a claimed process is purely a computer program, then it is not patentable. (New Zealand's order uses a similar washing machine example.) The motion ends by calling upon the German government to push for this approach to be standard across all of Europe. We hope policymakers in the United States will also consider fundamental reform that deals with the problems caused by low-quality software patents. Ultimately, any real reform must address this issue.
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    Note that an unofficial translation of the parliamentary motion is linked from the article. This adds substantially to the pressure internationally to end software patents because Germany has been the strongest defender of software patents in Europe. The same legal grounds would not apply in the U.S. The strongest argument for the non-patentability in the U.S., in my opinion, is that software patents embody embody both prior art and obviousness. A general purpose computer can accomplish nothing unforeseen by the prior art of the computing device. And it is impossible for software to do more than cause different sequences of bit register states to be executed. This is the province of "skilled artisans" using known methods to produce predictable results. There is a long line of Supreme Court decisions holding that an "invention" with such traits is non-patentable. I have summarized that argument with citations at . 
Paul Merrell

German Parliament tells government to strictly limit patents on software - 0 views

  • Tens of thousands of software patents in Germany and Europe present enormous cost and liability risks, especially for SMEs. Several German SME associations welcomed the Parliament's decision. However they warn against giving all the responsibility to Brussels, as the EU has been consistently incapable of providing software developers with legal certainty. "Germany now has to implement this decision in law, to send a strong signal towards Brussels," says Johannes Sommer of BIKT, one of the associations.
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