German anti-hacker law bites hard

by Justin Clarke

The recent change to German law to implement the EU Framework Decision on Attacks against Information Systems (enacted in Paragraph 202c of the German Penal Code) has caused many security researchers based in Germany to look to move elsewhere, or to remove previously available research findings.

The change in the law, which went into effect on August 10, criminalises the production, distribution, possession, and sale of tools that can be used to commit cybercrimes. Unfortunately, a strict interpretation of the changes would make possession of tools that could be used maliciously (such as nmap or Nessus for instance) illegal. While in reality, legal opinions are that the courts would differentiate between a cracker and a security researcher based on their intent, noone (unsurprisingly) seems to want to be the first test case.

The content for a number of projects have all but disappeared, such as the recent Month of PHP bugs, and the well known THC (The Hackers Choice) group, as well as smaller projects such as BtCrawler. Others are saying farewell to Germany and reestablishing themselves elsewhere such as the KisMac wifi scanner for OSX and the Phenoelit group.

All in all a hard strike against a country which has produced much valuable security research and expertise.


2007-09-05 03:13:59
its only the beginning...and it will not end after everyboy has a implanted rfid chip instead of a credit card.

One of the major weapon exporters in the world prohibits production and distribution of security software (StGB ยง202c).
From a nation of poets and thinkers to anation of bureaucrats and ignoramuses.
read on!