Germany mulls sweeping surveillance bill, crypto backdoors and fingerprinting kids

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. Read the rest

Paris pullout: Greenpeace projects anti-Trump message on Berlin's US Embassy

After yesterday's Trumpian vow to burn down the Earth and all who live there, Germany's Greenpeace office responded by projecting the above image onto the US embassy. Read the rest

Audi's top-of-the-line models implicated in Dieselgate

The hits keep on coming for Volkswagen, whose crimes have not yet been fully detailed, it seems. The EPA discovered Dieselgate emissions-cheating software in 2015, and then a German team found more in 2016, and now, a year later, the German Transport Ministry is recalling 24,000 Audi A7 and A8s for the same reason. Read the rest

Notes on curating an open access collection of political stickers

Catherine Tedford is curator of the Street Art Graphics collection, an open access collection of 2,700+ political stickers from the 1910s to today. Read the rest

Photographs from the archives of the Stasi, East Germany's legendary, paranoid secret police

Canadian Adrian Fish is one of the few photographers who've been permitted to take and publish photos from the archives of the Stasi, the legendarily invasive secret police of the former East Germany, who employed one snitch for every 60 people at their peak. Read the rest

MEP to Commission: World Wide Web Consortium's DRM is a danger to Europeans

German Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda (previously) has published an open-letter signed by UK MEP Lucy Anderson, raising alarm at the fact that the W3C is on the brink of finalising a DRM standard for web video, which -- thanks to crazy laws protecting DRM -- will leave users at risk of unreported security vulnerabilities, and also prevent third parties from adapting browsers for the needs of disabled people, archivists, and the wider public. Read the rest

Bavarian intelligence agency says Scientologists secretly took over one of the world's top art galleries

Bavaria's Verfassungsschutz -- "Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution" -- says that the Haus der Kunst, one of the world's top contemporary art galleries, was infiltrated by Scientologists who rose through the ranks, illegally discriminated against non-Scientologists when hiring, and waged psychological warfare against staff who were not members of the cult. Read the rest

British police arrest suspect in last November's me-too Mirai botnet floods

Last October, floods of traffic from Internet of Things devices infected by the Mirai worm brought down several high profile internet services, from Level 3 to Dyn to Twitter and Reddit. Read the rest

American airbase personnel sent erroneous "Missile inbound -- seek shelter" warning

Last Tuesday, all wing personnel on the US Spangdahlem Air Base received a warning: "MISSILE INBOUND. SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!" The warning was recalled eight minutes later. Read the rest

Man sells his tattooed skin to art collector who will flay him when he dies

Belgian artist Wim Delvoye attained fame and controversy by tattooing fine-art pieces on pigs; when retired tattoo parlor manager Tim Steiner volunteered his skin for a Delvoye piece, the result was purchased by a German art collector called Rik Reinking for €130,000 (Steiner got a third of that). Steiner has agreed to be flayed after his death, with his skin stretched, cured and framed for Reinking's collection. Read the rest

You know who else invested in infrastructure? Autobahn spending was key to Hitler's consolidation of power

In Highway to Hitler, Nico Voigtländer (UCLA) and Hans‐Joachim Voth (University of Zurich)'s 2014 paper analyzing the impact of the massive infrastructure investment in creating the Autobahn, the authors conclude that the major spending project was key to Hitler's consolidation of power. Read the rest

Germany, France and the UK are moving the EU to continuous, unaccountable, warrantless mass surveillance

Recent surveillance laws in Germany, France and the UK require online service providers to store (undoubtedly leaky and infinitely toxic) databases of everything you do online, and allow government agencies to raid these databases without accountability or meaningful oversight). Read the rest

Germany-wide consortium of research libraries announce boycott of Elsevier journals over open access

Germany's DEAL project, which includes over 60 major research institutions, has announced that all of its members are canceling their subscriptions to all of Elsevier's academic and scientific journals, effective January 1, 2017. Read the rest

PWC threatens to sue security firm for disclosing embarrassing, dangerous defects in its software

ESNC, a German security research firm, discovered a critical flaw in PWC's enterprise software, which would allow attackers to hack into PWC customers' systems; when ESNC gave PWC notice of its intent to publish an advisory in 90 days, PWC promptly threatened to sue them if they did. Read the rest

What happens when you opt out of the "voluntary" pornoscanners at Berlin's Schönefeld airport

Yesterday morning, Matthias Kirschner opted out of the "voluntary" full-body scanners at Berlin's Schönefeld, and discovered that "voluntary" means that "if you don't do it, they will barrack you endlessly about your choice, punitively repeatedly perform the same searches over and over, and attempt to delay you so you almost miss your flight." Read the rest

Atheist shoes experience a miraculous transformation

Atheist Shoes (previously), the stylish German shoes whose souls soles bear atheist messages ("Ich Bin Atheist") are getting ready to relaunch with a tweaked new design called DAS SNEAKER, which sports more cushioning and thinner soles for greater flexibility, as well as a retro turn-up toe. Read the rest

Snowden's lawyer says he'll testify about German surveillance...if Germany gets him safe passage out of Russia

An official German government committee of inquiry investigating the illegal surveillance that Edward Snowden revealed has asked Snowden to testify before it, the German Federal Court of Justice has ordered the German government to offer Snowden safe passage to Germany to do so, or admit to illegal spying. Read the rest

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