Germany: Undercover Investigators On The Net?

[Berlin] In the face of increasing security problems in the IT sector, the
German Secretary of State in the Ministery of the Interior, Brigitte Zypries, has called for
better policing and extended investigative ressources for the police on the
Internet. “Undercover investigations in chat rooms are legally prohibited in
Germany at present. However, since masked investigations are already taking
place in other areas, I call for discussion on whether it should not also be
possible on the Internet”, said the SPD politician in an interview with the
German magazine ‘Spiegel Online’.

The sale of hacking tools, which are intented to test systems for security
gaps but also exploit them, should in future also be limited to those
persons who can prove a “lawful interest”, the Secretary of State said. The
“illegal use” of these software products is however “inherent” in the
product, Zypries fears. A corresponding convention is currently being
discussed by other European states.

Offences on the Internet often escape criminal prosecution, Zypries said. An
improved international cooperation to bring about an effective process of
prosecution would necessarily also include an international legal standard
in matters Internet, concluded the Secretary of State.

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