Vague Law Scares Off Toolmakers in Germany
Very much to my surprise I didn’t notice this earlier:
German government created a law that makes it illegal to possess, use, produce, or distrubute “hacker tools”. So if you help someone to break into a computer system by providing (producing, selling etc.) either passwords or software tools, which serve this purpose, you can go to jail for up to one year.
The idea of course is to have ways to punish computer crimes which are definitely a new phenomenon to deal with for any established legal system.
However, this could – in its current form – easily be applied to tools like nmap, nessus and many other software used by hackers to check and improve security of computer systems. Some german hacker groups and tool providers have therefore shut down their presence (see the article).
Funny thing is that the german government (or at least the national Minister of the interior) also wants to establish a legal technique to search private computer systems using a trojan. This is meant to protect us from the terror that has literary flooded our country during resent years (there has not been one incident I know of but plenty of wild guesses and speculation that Germany is undoubtedly going to be attacked any time soon).
In my understanding this would result in a future where only the government has the legal right to hack into any computer they want. So, who watches the watchmen? Go figure.
As a result all german hackers could collectively move to Switzerland or Austria. Or Liechtenstein. This would be interesting because no one would be left to maintain the infrastructure here and people would slowly fall back into pre-information technology age. I ‘d suggest the german government has some plan to de-technologize Germany. And they’ll probably offer you some kind of bargain if you’re a hacker and leave the country in the very near future.
On the other hand, hackers could collectively decide to spend a refreshing year vacation in german jail which is probably one of the finest places to be. The wheather might not always be fun but the food shall be great.
Well, this might not seems funny to you and in fact it isn’t. I got the impression that politics become more and more paranoid of the wrong people. They’re afraid of something they don’t understand (which is natural or at least, german) but instead of trying to understand it – or even asking someone who does – they simply try to make a law against it. This time they made it. For now.