Germany's interior ministry has announced sweeping new surveillance powers ahead of the coming national election, which would include the right to infect residents' computers with malware in order to spy on their encrypted communications (shades of the illegal Bundestrojaner program), ordering tech companies to deliberately introduce defects into their cryptography, and fingerprinting children as young as 6.
Ministers from central government and federal states said encrypted messaging services, such as WhatsApp and Signal, allow militants and criminals to evade traditional surveillance.
"We can't allow there to be areas that are practically outside the law," interior minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in the eastern town of Dresden.
Militant attacks in France, Britain and Germany have prompted European governments to tighten up on surveillance of suspected militants. Britain has proposed forcing messaging services to let authorities access encrypted communications.
Among the options Germany is considering is "source telecom surveillance", where authorities install software on phones to relay messages before they are encrypted. That is now illegal.
Austria is also planning laws to make it easier to monitor encrypted messages as well as building out a linked network of cameras and other equipment to read vehicle licence plates.
Germany Plans to Fingerprint Children and Spy on Personal Messages
(Image: Johas, CC-BY-SA)
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