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German court bans police from installing Trojan Horses remotely

A few thoughts:

1. This seems to preclude German police from doing a remote search 
(which would have to include malware or some way of exploiting a 
security hole on the target's computer) even with a court order.

2. In the U.S., the FBI reportedly has developed similar malware called 
Magic Lantern, which we've discussed here before:
http://www.politechbot.com/p-03034.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Lantern_%28software%29

3. I can't think of any domestic case offhand when we know for a fact 
that the FBI has gained unauthorized remote access to a suspect's 
system. Can anyone? The Scarfo case involved physical access, and this 
remote intrusion case dealt with a computer in Russia:
http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-529917.html

-Declan

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http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Computer-Searches.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
German Court Nixes Hard Drive Search
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 5, 2007
Filed at 1:42 p.m. ET
BERLIN (AP) -- A German court on Monday ruled that police cannot 
remotely search criminal suspects' computer hard drives over the 
Internet without their knowledge.
The decision of the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe bars police 
from using the online ''Trojan horse'' method, which involves using a 
computer program to search through remote hard drives over an Internet 
connection, unless parliament passes a law explicitly allowing it.
Police will still be allowed to seize evidence from computer hard drives 
when conducting searches in person.
[...remainder snipped...]

Posted by Declan McCullagh on Feb 05, 2007 in category privacy


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