Bürgerrechte, politics, USA

Good Morning America.

The NY Times reports that the American Law Institute, a body made up of about 4,000 judges, lawyers and law professors and mostly dealing with creating structural legal directives to keep the different jurisdictional layers of the American legal system congruent, and also the body

which created the intellectual framework for the modern capital justice system almost 50 years ago, pronounced its project a failure and walked away from it.

Why? According to the NYT they didn’t quite say no to capital punishment as such, but they apparently did say that the American implementation is irretrievably broken –

A study commissioned by the institute said that decades of experience had proved that the system could not reconcile the twin goals of individualized decisions about who should be executed and systemic fairness. It added that capital punishment was plagued by racial disparities; was enormously expensive even as many defense lawyers were underpaid and some were incompetent; risked executing innocent people; and was undermined by the politics that come with judicial elections.

No kidding.

Bürgerrechte, Datenschutz, German Politics, politics, privacy


Ich erinnere mich,  daß ich es etwas kontraintuitiv fand, als ich im Skript zu einer Vorlesung über Organisation und Informationstechnologie die Aussage fand, daß Technologien, die Freiheit schaffen können, genauso zu ihrer Abschaffung eingesetzt werden können. Das war natürlich ein paar Jahre vor einem, hoffentlich nicht freudschen, Versprecher des Bundesinnenministers bei seiner Rede auf den 3. Berliner Medientagen.

“…und inzwischen eröffnen nun Computer und Internet ganz neue Austausch- und Informationskontrolle, äh, kanäle über die Grenzen hinweg.”

Hat tip Fefe. Und bei Youtube gibt es einen Ausschnitt aus der Phönix-Übertragung der Rede mit Bild, Ton, und anschwellendem Gelächter im Publikum.

Bürgerrechte, Datenschutz, German Politics, politics, privacy


Dieter Wiefelspütz, innenpolitischer Sprecher der SPD und einer der Hauptverhandlungspartner von Innenminister Wolfgang Schäuble in Bezug auf das nun wohl an einer fehlenden Mehrheit im Bundesrat scheiternde neue BKA-Gesetz hat laut der Süddeutschen zu Wolfang Schäubles Vorschlag, doch einfach die Abstimmungsregeln im Bundesrat zu ändern, wenn das gewünschte Ergebnis nicht zustande kommt, folgendes bemerkt –

SPD-Innenexperte Dieter Wiefelspütz erklärte dagegen, er könne sich mit dem Vorschlag “inhaltlich durchaus anfreunden”, kritisierte aber den Zeitpunkt der Veröffentlichung. “Wenn er aus tagesaktuellen Erwägungen gemacht wird, merkt jeder die Absicht dahinter”, sagte er Spiegel Online.

Nicht, daß noch irgendwer “die Absicht dahinter” erkennt…

Bürgerrechte, intellectual property rights

What Fuckery Is This?

Over at afoe, Alex has put it more eloquently than I would have. Specifically by asking the question above which I probably would have avoided, but which is more than appropriate in this case –

“What fuckery is this? It looks like the French government, having failed to impose an awful record-industry inspired snooping act at home, is trying to policy-launder it through the European Union. The so-called “3 strikes” law foresaw that ISPs would be required to cut off service to anyone who was found downloading or distributing copyrighted material three times – which of course implied that the ISPs would be expected to filter all traffic by content, a wildly grandiose, authoritarian, and insecure idea. (Wonderfully, Nicolas Sarkozy outsourced his Internet policy to a committee led by the owner of a chain of record shops; a little like putting the manufacturers of candles in charge of street lighting.)

But the legislation failed in France; so here it is, coming straight back via the European Parliament. The odd bit, though, seeing as it’s a French idea chiefly backed by the EPP (=European Conservative group), is that it’s being pushed by the British Tories in Brussels – half of whom don’t believe there even should be a European Parliament. Specifically, according to Heise.de (German link), it’s the Tory MEPs Malcolm Harbour and Sayed Kamal. Kamal is responsible for possibly the most egregious tagnut of a clause in the whole thing, which would permit essentially unrestricted telecoms surveillance for the (naturally undefined) “security of a public or private communications system”, and Harbour for the copyright/content-sniffing bit.”

Bürgerrechte, Datenschutz, Political Theory

This is winning.

Via netzpolitik.org, I find a commentary by Rop Conggris about the new fundamental right to “privacy and integrity of information processing systems” which was defined last Wednesday by the German Constitutional Court – Today, we’re all Germans.

“It would of course have been even nicer if the Germans had actually managed to elect a government that didn’t attempt to trample their most basic rights to begin with. But then constitutions are there as a safety-net for precisely this eventuality. They are written because the framers realized that when it comes to governments, shit (such as in the form of oppressive laws) sometimes happens.

So the people of Germany seem to be successfully defending themselves against their government. What’s wrong with the rest of the world? There have been plenty efforts in many other countries to defend the notion of privacy, but the Germans have simply been provided with better and sharper tools for defending themselves. Their sharpest tool by far is this federal constitutional court. Without it, I fear Germany would have long been in the same sorry state as my own country. I hope all Germans realize that the judges and support staff that make up this court are the one single thing that stands between today’s Germany and a police state.”

Datenschutz, German Politics, Germany, internet, privacy

“The privacy and integrity of information processing systems”

Striking down state (Land) legislation from Nordrhein-Westfalia that allowed the use of trojan software to spy on individual’s computers, the German constitutional court (Bundesvrfassungsgericht) has derived from the fundamental legal premises of the German constutiton a new basic right to “privacy and integrity of information processing systems” (my quick and dirty translation). As a basic right, it can only be infringed given very specific circumstances – in this case, the court explicitly mentioned “specific” threats to the life and liberty of individuals, or “concrete” threats to the state.

It will obviously depend on legislative interpretations of the court’s ruling to see whether it’s possible to speak of a “loophole” in the basic right, as Spiegel Online English does. My guess is not, as politicians will not want to get slapped in the face by the Constitutional Court again, and the court will rule on two more privacy related cases soon.

While the court’s ruling will have to be studied in detail to understand its intentions more clearly, this is clearly a landmark decision with respect to the question of how to balance the state’s desire to gather information to protect its citizens and ensure the rule of law with the citizens’ right to privacy.

The Chaos Computer Club’s Andreas Bogk’s, who serves as an expert at the court, likenes the verdict to the census ruling in 1983, which derived a basic right to informational self determination and paved the way for privacy protection legislation.

Netzpolitk.org (German) has everything and then another link and quote regarding the verdict and the unfolding media coverage.

Some more links in English – BBC, WSJ, Bloomberg.

US Politics

America’s Enabling Act? Catastrophic events and the suspension of the division of power in the USA.

Telepolis (in German) reports about the US “National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive” that was apparently ‘taken out with the trash’ by the White House Communications department on May 9, 2007, and, accordingly, apparently deemed too sensitve to explain even to US Congressmen, has not been approrpriately covered by the media. The directive is intended to ensure US governmental functionality in the case of “catastrophic events”, yet raises concerns for being weak on the definitions as well as giving only the Presidency the apaprently legally unchallengable power to invoke as well as recind this state of emergency.

An article published in the Boston Globe a month after the directive had been published details that even Conservatives who were involved in the campaign against former Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry are deeply critical of the directive. According to to the Boston Globe –

“[t]he unanswered questions have provoked anxiety across ideological lines. The conservative commentator Jerome Corsi , for example, wrote in a much-linked online column that the directive looked like a recipe for allowing the office of the presidency to seize “dictatorial powers” because the policy does not discuss consulting Congress about when to invoke emergency powers — or when to turn them off.”

Interestingly, the Congressman, Peter DeFazio, who is apparently a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee and as such entitled to review classified material, asking to review details of the policy on behalf of some of his constituents who worried about “a conspiracy” being buried in the classified documents, told The Oregonian after his request was denied that

“[m]aybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right.”

Coming from a Congressman, that’s at least somewhat scary.

France, media

What’s in a title.

Clearly demonstrating a profound lack of understanding of social media as well as the urgency of a useful legal framework for “citizen journalists”,

[t]he French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.

Source: France bans citizen journalists from reporting violence | InfoWorld


netzpolitik.org macht depressiv.

OK. Eigentlich sind es die Themen, über die dort berichtet wird (und fast nirgendwo sonst). Aber ich hätte mir eigentlich denken können, daß es nicht so clever ist, mich vor dem Rosenmontagszug über die neuesten Auswüchse der deutschen Überwachungswut zu informieren. Wer liest, dem wird schlecht.

Wer nicht liest, dem dürfte allerdings in Zukunft noch viel schlechter werden. Ich denke übrigens über einen CDU-Eintritt nach – vielleicht kann man von innen effektiver gegen diese schleichende, freiwillige Selbstzerstörung der fundamentalen Grundlagen unseres Gesellschaftssystems vorgehen.



Telepolis hat sich die gesammelten Statements der Herren Zierke, Schäuble und Beckstein zum Thema Online-Durchsuchung etwas genauer angesehen und wird so manchen ins Grübeln bringen – ist die Ignoranz der politischen Klasse echt oder nur vorgetäuscht, damit man ihnen zumindest die guten Absichten bei ihren Überwachungsinitiativen abnimmt?

Übrigens zitiert der Artikel einen FAZ Bericht, demzufolge 160 Millionen Euro für die Entwicklung der Online-Durchsuchungs-Software angesetzt sein sollen. Solche Summen gibt eigentlich nur die Bundesagentur für Arbeit auf dem kleinen Dienstweg aus. Und bei den Aussagen zum Thema Windows/NSA/Backdoor stellt sich ebenfalls die Frage, ob die verbale Unbedarftheit Ausdruck eines unspezifischen Wissens oder eines unspezifischen Unwissens ist.

Früher betrieben wir Kremldeutung. Heute müssen wir unsere eigenen Politiker richtig deuten lernen.

Times are a changing.

Vielleicht kann, ja muss man sich das so vorstellen: Da saßen zwei, drei beamtete Hobby-Programmierer in der BKA-Kantine und erzählten davon, was sie so theoretisch alles könnten. Und das ging durch die Schiene ihrer Vorgesetzten nach ganz oben, wo es zwar nicht so richtig verstanden wurde – und jetzt reden Zierke, Schäuble und Beckstein tagaus, tagein von dringend erforderlichen Gesetzesänderungen.