Germany to allow computer virus attacks by police

April 16th, 2008 - 3:12 am ICT by admin  

Berlin, April 16 (DPA) Germany is moving ahead with a bill to permit police virus attacks that could remotely extract evidence from a suspect’s computer, an interior ministry spokesman said in Berlin Tuesday. The legislation had been held up by a dispute within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition over the terms.

That was resolved with an agreement that the bill would not include any new authorization to physically attach monitoring devices to suspects’ computers. “Police won’t initially set foot in anyone’s home,” said Paris.

The surveillance will use “white hat” virus techniques, in which flaws in computer programmes are exploited in a good cause.

Police computer experts will try online to trick a suspect into inadvertently installing a bugging program that sends computerized secrets via the Internet to a waiting police team.

But experts say any good anti-virus program could defeat such a virus and the trick would only work on inept computer users.

Paris said the legislation would be in line with a Constitutional Court ruling in February that attached strict conditions to such snooping, including obtaining a court order and only doing so to protect lives or public utilities.

Ministers are to discuss this week whether to give police new powers to physically plant bugs near computers, Paris said.

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