Compliance Management, Network Security

Lawmakers in Germany push for encryption-busting trojan in lead up to election

With a federal election scheduled for September, government officials in Germany are pressing for expanded hacking powers be granted to law enforcement agencies, according to an article on ZDNet.

Changes to the criminal justice code have long been on the docket, but with the election near many are advocating a last-minute amendment granting authorities expanded powers to use co-called Staatstrojaner, or "state-trojan," to break into computers and smartphones.

While the nation's federal constitutional court has already tempered use of such procedures so they'd only be allowed in cases where lives are at stake, a leak on Wednesday of a draft of the proposed amendment revealed that the Staatstrojaner would be allowed for 27 different criminal offenses, including currency counterfeiting and money laundering, bribery, sex crimes and the distribution of child sexual abuse imagery, the report stated.

Law enforcement is demanding the changes to allow them to defeat encryption, which is increasingly used in online communications. The trojan could also open the door for searches on hacked devices.

Many, of course, are opposed to the proposed law, particularly in light of last week's WannaCry scourge, a global ransomware attack that was seeded with code stolen from the National Security Agency.

The legislation moves on to the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament.

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