Resignations over „Predator“ spyware scandal in Greece

The Greek secret service spied on at least one journalist, today its head resigned. In addition, the prime minister’s secretary-general quit his post. The affair reaches the EU level after a current MEP was also spied on.

The Greek wiretapping affair involving the „Predator“ spy programme is widening. According to media reports, Grigoris Dimitriadis, the Secretary General of the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, resigned today. Today, his office writes that the head of the secret service, Panagiotis Kontoleon, has also submitted his resignation.

The association „Reporters United“ had previously reported how a network of companies with the participation of Dimitriadis was making money from state operations of the spyware. Intellexa, the company that distributes „Predator“ in Greece, is part of this. The revelation is also explosive because the two are relatives: The Secretary General is the nephew of the Prime Minister, who in turn is directly responsible for the secret service as a user of „Predator“. „Resignations over „Predator“ spyware scandal in Greece“ weiterlesen

German Investigations dropped: Indymedia platform was not a criminal association

The German linksunten.indymedia, founded in 2008, was banned under the Associations Act, and the entire technical infrastructure and funds of a left-wing center were confiscated. Seized storage devices apparently could not be decrypted.

Almost five years after the ban of linksunten.indymedia, the German public prosecutor Manuel Graulich has closed a preliminary investigation for the formation of a criminal organization (§ 129 of the German Code of Criminal Procedure), writes Antifa Freiburg in a post on its website. Accordingly, the decision was already made on July 12. The Freiburg lawyer of those affected, Angela Furmaniak, confirmed the information.

On August 25, 2017, and thus shortly before the Bundestag elections, the then Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) had announced the ban and declared the Internet platform to be an „association“. This meant that the law on associations could be applied, which, compared to the Telemedia Act, has significantly fewer requirements for a ban. The lawyers of those affected call this a „legal trick“. „German Investigations dropped: Indymedia platform was not a criminal association“ weiterlesen

German police and secret service: Transmission of Kurdish association data is illegal

Associations of foreign nationals are kept in a central register in Germany. Members of Kurdish foundations are subject to special surveillance. However, a corresponding decree from 1994 can not be found anymore.

The German Federal Office of Administration (BVA) transmits data on Kurdish associations to the police and secret service without any reason. The background to this is a 1994 decree by then Interior Minister Manfred Kanther (Christian Democrats) to prosecute the Kurdistan Workers‘ Party (PKK), which had been forbidden in Germany a year earlier.

However, there is no legal basis for this nearly thirty-year-old practice. This is confirmed by an expert opinion of the Scientific Services in the Bundestag, which was commissioned by Gökay Akbulut, a member of the Left Party. Akbulut commented that this was a „blatant breach of law and politically intolerable“. „German police and secret service: Transmission of Kurdish association data is illegal“ weiterlesen

Europol warning: Right-wingers equip themselves with 3D printed weapons

A radical right-winger has been arrested in Slovakia for using self-printed weapons and explosives. Investigators on the phenomenon met in The Hague three weeks ago.

Together with foreign police and intelligence services, officials in Slovakia have arrested a right-wing extremist who allegedly distributed instructions for 3D self-printing weapons and explosives. The man is described as dangerous and is currently in pre-trial detention awaiting further proceedings.

In addition to the Slovak police and criminal investigation department, the country’s military intelligence service was also involved in the investigation. Because the crimes involved cross-border organized crime, the Czech police cooperated as well.

Raids subsequently took place in Slovakia on May 11 and in the Czech Republic on May 23. In the process, law enforcement officials said they discovered a „sophisticated 3D printer“ and electronic devices that are currently under investigation. „Europol warning: Right-wingers equip themselves with 3D printed weapons“ weiterlesen

New regulation: Europol becomes the Big Data police

Following the decision of the EU interior ministers, the new Europol law will come into force in June. The police agency will thus receive new areas of responsibility and powers.

Comparatively quickly, EU member states and the Parliament have launched a new Europol regulation. Once set up to fight drug trafficking, the agency is being given even more powers. However, the agency in The Hague is still not a „European FBI“.

At the end of 2020, the Commission had presented its proposal for the new regulation; in May this year, the three EU decision-making bodies agreed on a final version. After the Parliament, the EU interior ministers also confirmed the final version last week. Now only the publication in the Official Journal is missing, then the new law will apply. „New regulation: Europol becomes the Big Data police“ weiterlesen

Germany: Mobile phones as a tracking bug

With silent SMS, cell site analysis and IMSI catchers, authorities can pinpoint the location of a mobile device to within a few metres.

Last year, the German Federal Criminal Police sent about 68,000 silent SMS in 33 cases (one of which was a danger aversion case), which is a significant increase compared to preceding years. The Federal Police sent around 48,000 silent text messages in 56 criminal proceedings, which is roughly the average of past years. This is stated in the answer to a parliamentary question by the Left Party in the Bundestag. „Germany: Mobile phones as a tracking bug“ weiterlesen

Germany: Trojans for all

The German Bundestag passed new wiretapping laws for secret services and the Federal Police

In future, German secret services will be able to remotely access private computers or telephones with spy software. They will be allowed to intercept not only ongoing but also „inactive“ communications, i.e. to read out data stored on the devices. This was decided in the Bundestag today with the votes of the ruling coalition of Conservatives (CDU/ CSU) and Socialdemocrats (SPD). The vote was on a „Law on the Adaptation of Legislation on the Protection of the Constitution“, which is intended to facilitate the „reconnaissance of serious threats to our democratic constitutional state“. „Germany: Trojans for all“ weiterlesen

Again strong increase for secret searches in Europe’s largest police database

The Schengen Information System allows alerts to be issued for „discreet checks“; the persons concerned should not be informed of this if possible. The number of these Article 36 searches has been increasing significantly for years. French and British police and intelligence services are mainly responsible for this.

The number of secret alerts in the Schengen Information System (SIS II) rose sharply last year as well, writes the German Federal Ministry of the Interior. This is possible according to Article 36 of the SIS II Council Decision, which enables alerts to be issued for „discreet checks“ or „specific checks“. If the persons concerned are found within the Schengen area, they are reported to the authority issuing the alert. National police laws also permit such measures, but not across borders. „Again strong increase for secret searches in Europe’s largest police database“ weiterlesen

Schengen searches to be extended

Persons listed in the Schengen Information System may, inter alia, be observed or searched by the police. The numbers of these Article 36 alerts are increasing rapidly and are now being explained for the first time in detail. A new category „inquiry check“ is planned in the new regulation for the police database.

At the end of 2017, the Schengen Information System (SIS II) listed 129,412 persons in accordance with Article 36 of the SIS II Council Decision, compared with 96,108 the year before. 96,108 the article allows, on the one hand, listings for a „discreet check“, which the police officers should proceed discreetly and of which the persons concerned should not know anything. On the other hand, there is also the possiblity for a „specific check“, during which the wanted person, his/her luggage or the vehicle in which he/she travels, are searched. „Schengen searches to be extended“ weiterlesen

Europol to cooperate with new European intelligence service center

European intelligence services are establishing a „Counter Terrorism Centre“ in the Dutch city The Hague. The centre belongs to the „Counter Terrorism Group“ (CTG) that was founded by the so called Club of Berne in 2001.

It consists of domestic intelligence services from all European member states plus Norway and Switzerland. France and Italy are participating with two different authorities. The CTG members are now invoked to send liason officers towards the Dutch centre. Which security services will participate in the „Counter Terrorism Centre“ is yet unclear. Reportedly to German media „not even half of the countries want to join“. „Europol to cooperate with new European intelligence service center“ weiterlesen