Category Archives: Politics

Das nationale Interesse überwiegt

Although it is related to an international affair between the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America, this critique of a recent decision by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany is written in German because I don’t feel comfortable expressing my juristic thoughts concerning this case in English. Reasoning about Germany’s constitution is best done in German because that’s the language the constitution and most literature about it is written in. (This is probably true for any nation state.)

Mit seinem Beschluss vom 13. Oktober 2016 (2 BvE 2/15, Pressemitteilung Nr 84/2016 vom 15. November 2016) hat der zweite Senat des Bundesverfassungsgerichts (BVerfG) die Anträge der Bundestagsfraktionen DIE LINKE und BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN im Organstreitverfahren zwischen der Bundesregierung und dem „NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss“ (bzw dem Bundestag) um die Herausgabe der sogenannten „NSA-Selektorenlisten“ entscheiden, dass „im besonderen Fall der NSA-Selektorenlisten […] das Vorlageinteresse des Untersuchungsausschusses zurückzutreten [hat]“. Der Beschluss – der aus Geheimschutzgründen ohne eine mündliche Verhaldnung zustande kam – überzeugt leider nicht. Der Senat scheint sich in erheblichem Maße von politischen „Sachzwängen“ überzeugen haben zu lassen. Bereits die im Beschluss angeführten juristischen Gegenargumente dürften die Argumente, die das Ergebnis stützen sollen, überwiegen. Dazu kommt, dass von letzteren meines Erachtens nicht alle unwidersprochen bleiben können.

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Wrong Superhero – Why Apple doesn’t Deserve the Praise it’s Receiving

The “FBI–Apple encryption dispute” has come to an – preliminary, at least – end with the FBI announcing yesterday that they have no interest any more in Apple assisting them to recover user data from a seized iPhone that once was used by a terrorist. The FBI says that they have been able to recover the data without Apple’s help. Apple has received much public support for their opposition to provide software to recover the data from the phone. I believe that Apple doesn’t deserve this sympathy and is the wrong superhero to adore. Contrary to what they say in their press releases, Apple is not protecting their user’s freedom. Even though they might have put security measures into place that are distinguishing compared to those of other competitors, Apple’s products are mistreating their users just as any other product based on proprietary software. Sadly, there is no smart phone available today that runs exclusively on free software and gives control to the user instead of the vendor, which is why I don’t use or even have a smart phone.

The whole talk about the “FBI–Apple encryption dispute” is highly disturbing. Continue reading

Die Hacker sind an gar nichts schuld

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren beim Deutschlandfunk,

seit Tagen berichten Sie immer wieder von dem Angriff auf die IT-Systeme des Deutschen Bundestags. Während ich der Berichterstattung bislang nur äußerst wenige technische Details zu Art und Umfang des Angriffs entnehmen konnte, ist mir aufgefallen, dass Sie regelmäßig von „Hackern“ sprechen, die den Angriff ausgeführt haben sollen. Während es nach meinem aktuellen Kenntnisstand nicht gänzlich auszuschließen ist, dass dem tatsächlich so gewesen sein könnte, halte ich es doch für äußerst unrealistisch, und bitte Sie, von dieser unbegründeten Anschuldigung in Zukunft Abstand zu halten.

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A General Prohibition for Teachers in Public Schools to Wear a Headscarf is Incompatible with the German Constitution

One of Germany’s worst and most freedom-denying pieces of law has become a thing of the past. Because of a mature insight on behalf of the responsible politicians to revoke unjust legislation? No way! This is not how politics work in Germany, sadly. Instead, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (BVerfG), one more time, had to settle the mess politics has left behind.

In a court decision from January 27 (1 BvR 471/10, 1 BvR 1181/10) that was published today, the BVerfG has ruled that legislation by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) that prohibited non-Christian teachers to dress according to their religious believes is partially incompatible with the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (GG) and partially has to be applied in a restricted manner to be compliant with the GG. Continue reading

30 Years of E-Mail in Germany

Today, it has been exactly 30 years since Germany’s first e-mail was received in Karlsruhe. This anniversary was celebrated with a small event at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). A press conference was organized and students launched 72 helium balloons shaped as 0s and 1s that were arranged to read 0x4B40726C7372756865. (I didn’t actually verify this.) While personally I disapprove of such intentional and needless environmental pollution, it was a great opportunity for us to raise awareness for privacy of e-mail communication and teach people about OpenPGP. Continue reading