Grundgesetz Ja Grundgesetz

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London Docklands (before the thunderstorm)
This is about strong encryption technology, the law, and about a rare reason to be proud to be German.

Encryption technology is available to more or less everyone these days that lets you encrypt a single email message, or a single document, or the entire hard disk content, in a way that is virtually unbreakable. Modern technologies are considered unbreakable even if the technology advances to much much more powerful computers. So far to the technological part.

Current American legislation views strong encryption technology as a defence weapon, prohibits export, and (presumably) flags any bearded user of such technology a potential terrorist. Legislation is behind in the U.K., producing a grey zone in which law enforcement agencies already complain about the unbreakable data on suspects’ computers. The British public shows little interest, and there is a real chance that encryption technologies will be governed by American-style legislation some time soon.

Conversely, some of the leading software developments in strong encryption technology, however, are founded, supported, and endorsed by the German government. How come?

It’s because the German constitution (the Grundgesetz) guarantees in article 10 that the privacy of mail or telephone communication is guaranteed and inviolable. The government funds these projects to provide a free and readily available way for every German citizen to attend to this civil right.

Makes me proud to be German, and should alert every Briton to watch out for the forthcoming advances in the great British surveillance state.

4 thoughts on “Grundgesetz Ja Grundgesetz

  1. I didn’t say I was for it. I am very aware of what’s public knowledge and I know that my personal space is violated whenever I make a communication, be it credit history or be it something else; the US laws are almost turning like “guilty until proven innocent” when it should be the opposite.

    All I am saying is “rule making is easy”, US can make one law, another nation can make another. But does it serve the purpose for what it’s made? I think that should be the bigger question. And to those who are not ‘aware’ of this, I say it’s their fault. We are all part of the society, who makes these rules, aren’t we? So….

  2. Grundgesetz, ja Grundgesetz, Sie berufen sich hier pausenlos auf’s Grundgesez. Sagen Sie mal, sind Sie Kommunist?
    I think if there is one thing our educational system has achieved, it is our generation’s appreciation of the German Grundgesetz. They told us for so long that it is a very good thing that I too do firmly believe in it (but you know that anyway…).

  3. Assume your privacy is largely lost already.

    Your shopping, eating and drinking habbits are tracked by your favourite supermarket chain through their loyalty cards; your credit card and debit card provider(s) do the same (at least for fraund detection). Your location is known +/- 30 yards thanks to your cell phone, and almost every step you take on the Internet is being recorded. If you use a free email service, your emails might already get scanned for target advertising.

    I’m not saying all that is evil, but it is high time people start being aware of data harvesting and the above methods.

    The real concern here, with regards to encryption and privacy of written communication, is that the U.S. law prepares for criminalization as you apply those technologies in order to protect your privacy. States with that approach are also likely to employ a very relaxed approach when it comes to mail monitoring or phone tapping.

    It’s all too easy to say “I don’t have to hide anything from the law.” In fact I don’t, but I want to be in tight control over what is disclosed, to whom, when and why.

    Britain (already the world record holder in publicly installed CCTV cameras although no success can be claimed with regards to reducing crime) is on the brink of making the same US-style mistakes, and the wider public is blissfully oblivious.

  4. That’s indeed the downside of living around here, everything is public knowledge.But then again, having a rule and implementing it are two different things…how much of the rules here actually work? There are ways round it…else terrorism as a word wouldnt exist. So rule making is easy, following it through is the difficult part. So I dont consider my privacy is at stake anytime soon.

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