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War on Terror: Germany Debates Computer Spying

The German equivalent to the Department of Homeland Security has designed a Trojan to help spy on the computers of terror suspects. Spiegel International writes about the debate:

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble insists that such cyber spying would only be carried out in a handful of exceptional cases and would only target those suspected of planning terror attacks. Nevertheless, a debate has erupted in the press as to whether Schäuble -- known for his provocative, America-esque anti-terror tactics -- may have once again overstepped his bounds.
In July, the minister ruffled feathers with suggestions that Germany should consider targeted assassinations of suspected terrorists.

Reuters reports that according to one German paper the proposed law even allows temporary computer spying without a court order.

Once again, similar challenges, suggestions, criticism and debates on both sites of the Atlantic, right?

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Kevin Sampson on :

Now that Speigel has made it public, the whole debate is probably academic.

Martin on :

Al Qaeda does not use computers. They are low tech. Osama's messengers are said to learn to deliver messages both ways by memorizing the text and killing themselves if in danger of capture.

Zyme on :

These days the stance of Franz-Josef Strauß on the war on terror was made public by former chancellor Schmidt - an interesting way of dealing with terrorists: When RAF terrorists threatened to kill their hostages if their demands are not fulfilled, Strauß is reputed to have said "We have hostages, too." This is worth thinking about. Rather than allowing the terrorists to move our governments around, this would allow us to react. Barbarians don´t understand civilized methods anyway. When they kill their hostages, we should reduce their numbers accordingly. Maybe this would make them think about their behavior. And if it didn´t, well then at least there won´t be any negotiations about the release of prisoners anymore :) So while I would strongly agree to a harshers stance towards terrorists that take hostages, I don´t approve the introduction of state-run trojan horses at all. This is not exactly the kind of measurement that increases the support of the people for the government in the war on terror. Continuous cutting of personal freedom only causes discontent, which is growing. Ordinary citizens must have at least certain areas in their lives in which they can be certain that the state is not taking a secret look at them. In the modern world, the content of personal hard-drives is among these areas.

Martin on :

Yes, but we don't have many confirmed high ranking Al Qaeda members in custody. Besides, these guys don't mind getting killed. They see it as martyrdom. It would be great if we had Osama in custody. We could torture him every day live on television.

Zyme on :

*lol* Yeah you are right, we would first have to put more effort into hunting them. And that is very unlikely unless they start to bomb in our cities. I think the killing of prisoners is more suited to the american war on terror. We still have a reputation to lose in the arabian world. They can proceed whatever way they like to.

Don S on :

Germany also has a reputation to lose in the US. Although that reputation may be a lost cause by this time....

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