10 Oct 2011

German police accused of using eavesdropping software

A tool used by the German government to listen in on Skype calls may violate internet security rulings by the country's constitutional court, according to a European hacker club.

The Chaos Computer Club said they have obtained copies of a program that has allegedly been used by German police to eavesdrop on Skype calls. PCWorld said it has long been rumored that the German government has been using tools to listen to hundreds of Skype calls, as a document released three years ago by WikiLieaks allegedly showed a proposal by a company offering to develop the tool.

"We got our hands on it and found it is doing much more than it is legally allowed to do," Frank Rieger, a member of the Chaos Computer Club, told the press. PCWorld said German officials at the Interior Ministry were unable to immediately answer questions about the allegations. Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for German's Federal Press Office, wrote over the weekend on Twitter that Germany did not use the programs.

Internet security of the program has been an issue, according to the Chaos Computing Club, as although the data is transmitted by the program is encrypted, the commands transmitted to control the program are not. The club said this makes it possible for an attacker to easily impersonate law enforcement.