Tag: Germany

German hackers are revolting

Germany is facing a huge increase in the numbers of hacking cases.

The German government registered 82,649 cases of computer fraud, espionage and other cyber crimes in 2016, an increase of just over 80 percent from 2015.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere is due to release the new statistics, part of the government’s annual crime report, on Monday, according to Die Welt.

In addition to cybercrime, German police also registered 253,290 cases of crimes carried out with the help of the internet, an increase of 3.6 percent from 2015, the newspaper reported.

While it is possible that there is a sudden rise in the numbers of disaffected youth who want to stick it to the man, it is more likely the figure represents a move by organised crime to lift cash from companies.

The rise coincides  with a move by Eastern German and Russian mafia types to switch to internet extortion which is easier than hitting people with lead pipes and less noisy than shooting them.

“That is a very pretty server you have there Hans, it would be a pity if anything happened to it.”


Facebook says it will reduce fake news

funny-pictures-auto-news-france-387930Facebook said  it will update its social media platforms in Germany within weeks to reduce the dissemination of fake news.

German Justice Minister Heiko Mass has repeatedly called on Facebook to respect laws against defamation in Germany that are stricter than those in the United States.

The Germans are worried that fake news and “hate speech” on the internet could influence a parliamentary election in September in which chancellor Angela Merkel will seek a fourth term in office.

Now a Facebook note said the company would make it easier to report items suspected to be fake news and work with external fact-checking organisations.

“Last month we announced measures to tackle the challenge of fake news on Facebook,” the U.S. technology company’s German-language newsroom said.

“We will put these updates in place in Germany in the coming weeks.”

Its partners will be required to sing the U.S. Poynter International Fact-Checking Code of Principles, it said. Warning signs would be attached to reports identified as noncredible, and the reasons for the decision given.

Facebook would also make it impossible for spammers to forge the websites of reputable news agencies, it said.


Germany thinking of fining Facebook for each fake news story

German coat of armsThe German government is thinking of slapping a huge fine on Facebook for each fake news story it publishes.

For those who came in late, fake news is the latest thing.  It is news which is sometimes called “satire” in the US by people who don’t know what satire is.  It is normaly conspiracy laden rubbish which no sane person would believe and is tailored to repeat things that people want to believe. It was considered a factor in the election of  the Russian-backed Donald (prince of Orange) Trump in the US.

Germany is worried. Particularly as it fears that the Far-Right in its country will use fake news to stir up trouble about immigrants.  After all they have a long history of doing just that. According to the article, “Lawmakers in the country are reportedly hoping it will prevent Russia from interfering in Germany’s elections next year.”

The government of Germany is considering imposing a legal regime that would allow fining social networks such as Facebook up to 500,000 euros ($522,000) for each day the platform leaves a ‘fake news’ story up without deleting it.

Germany’s parliamentary chief of the Social Democrat party Thomas Oppermann said in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine that the law would reportedly apply to other social networks too.

“If after the relevant checks Facebook does not immediately, within 24 hours, delete the offending post then [it] must reckon with severe penalties of up to 500,000 euros.”

Under the law, “official and private complainants” would be able to flag news on Facebook as fake. Facebook and other affected social networks would have to create “in-country offices focused on responding to takedown demands,” the report says. The bill, slated for consideration next year, is said to have bipartisan support.



Germany mulls fining Facebook over hate speech

12Germany’s Justice Minister thinks that the social notworking site Facebook should be treated like a media company rather than a technology platform.

This slight change in definition would mean that it would be criminally liable for failing to remove hate speech.

German authorities are monitoring how many racist posts reported by Facebook users are deleted within 24 hours. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has pledged to take legislative measures if the results are not up to snuff.

Maas has said the European Union needs to decide whether platform companies should be treated like radio or television stations, which can be held accountable for the content they publish.

“In my view, they should be treated as media even if they do not correspond to the media concept of television or radio,” he said following a meeting of state justice ministers in Berlin.

Under current EU guidelines Facebook and other social media networks are not liable for any criminal content or hate posts hosted on their platform.

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter signed the EU hate speech code, vowing to fight racism and xenophobia by reviewing most hate speech notifications within 24 hours. But the code is voluntary.

Germany bans Tesla from advertising Autopilot

NeinNeinNeinNeinGerman Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt has asked Tesla to stop advertising its electric vehicles as having an Autopilot function, as this might suggest drivers’ attention is not needed.

A spokeswoman for the ministry said the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) had written to Tesla to make the request.

“It can be confirmed that a letter to Tesla exists with the request to no longer use the misleading term Autopilot for the driver assistance system of the car,” she said in a written response to a Reuters’ query.

Tesla spokespeople in Germany did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Friday, the KBA wrote to owners of Tesla cars, warning them that their vehicles could not be operated without their constant attention and that under traffic regulations they must remain alert.

According to the BamS report, the KBA letter to Tesla said: “We demand that the misleading term Autopilot is no longer used in advertising the system.”

Tesla’s Autopilot has been the focus of intense scrutiny since a Tesla Model S driver was killed while using the technology in a May 7 collision with a truck in Florida.


Germany busts the internal combustion engine

vintage-car-crash-2It seems that Germany has had enough of its cars failing emission testings and is going to ban the internal combustion engine.

The country’s Bundesrat (federal council) has passed a resolution calling for a ban on new internal combustion engine cars by 2030. By then all cars will have to be  electric or running on a hydrogen fuel cell.

It is not legally binding, but the Bundesrat is asking the European Commission to implement the ban across the European Union… so there is a chance it might happen.

The council also wants the European Commission to review its taxation policies and their effect on the “stimulation of emission-free mobility.” It could involve stronger tax incentives for buying zero-emissions cars, but it could also involve eliminating tax breaks for diesel cars in EU states.

It is starting to look like. what ever happens, diesels could be a think of the past.



Half of users click on everything a phisher sends

nemoSecurity experts were shocked to discover that half of internet users are so stupid that they click on everything anyone sends to them.

The study by German researchers found that about half of the subjects in a recent experiment clicked on links from strangers in e-mails and Facebook messages. What is worse is that they had previously indicated that they were aware of phishing risks.

The researchers at the Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany  revealed the initial results of the study at this month’s Black Hat security conference. Simulated “spear phishing” attacks were sent to 1,700 test subjects—university students—from fake accounts.

The e-mail and Facebook accounts were set up with the ten most common names in the age group of the targets. The Facebook profiles had varying levels of publicly accessible profile and timeline data—some with public photos and profile photos, and others with minimal data. The messages claimed the links were to photos taken at a New Year’s Eve party held a week before the study. Two sets of messages were sent out: in the first, the targets were addressed by their first name; in the second, they were not addressed by name, but more general information about the event allegedly photographed was given. Links sent resolved to a webpage with the message “access denied,” but the site logged the clicks by each student.

The messages that addressed the targets by name scored clicks from 56 percent of e-mail targets and 37 percent of Facebook message recipients. But while the less-targeted messages in the second test only yielded 20 percent results for the e-mails, they scored 42 percent via Facebook messages.

FAU Computer Science Department Chair Dr Zinaida Benenson  was stunned by the results as more than 78 percent of participants stated in the questionnaire that they were aware of the risks of unknown links.  But 45 percent had clicked on the links.

For those who admitted to clicking on the link, the majority said they did so out of curiosity. Half of those who didn’t were warned off because they didn’t recognise the sender’s name, and a small minority avoided clicking because they were concerned about the privacy of the person who may have accidentally sent them the link.

“I think that with careful planning and execution, anyone can be made to click on this type of link, even if it’s just out of curiosity,” Benenson said.


Germany wants robot cars to have a black box

black-box-rev-1000x667Germany is thinking about new laws to require car manufacturers equipped with an autopilot function to install a black box to help determine responsibility in the event of an accident.

The move follows the fatal crash of a Tesla Motors Inc Model S car in its Autopilot mode and increased  pressure on industry executives and regulators to ensure that automated driving technology can be used safely.

Under the proposed laws from Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt, drivers will not have to pay attention to traffic or concentrate on steering, but must remain seated at the wheel so they can intervene in the event of an emergency. Although if you are not concentrating on the road it is hard to see how you can suddenly grab a steering wheel.

Manufacturers will also be required to install a black box that records when the autopilot system was active, when the driver drove and when the system requested that the driver take over, according to the proposals.

The draft is due to be sent to other ministries for approval this summer, a transport ministry spokesman said.


Germans rule against Apple in video streaming case

old-school-tvA German court has ruled against the fruity cargo cult Apple in a case over video streaming patents.

In 2014, Jobs’ Mob was sued by Kudelski’s OpenTV for nicking its intellectual property. The ruling from the Dusseldorf District Court means Apple products sold in Germany must not use streaming software which infringes OpenTV’s patents.

It is unclear what steps Apple will take to comply with the ruling, or whether it will appeal. Knowing Apple it will appeal.

Kudelski has developed and acquired a range of movie and digital TV technologies over several decades, and became a player in the streaming-video market by virtue of its 2010 acquisition of OpenTV.

The Dusseldorf court said that Kedelski’s claim was  valid and well-founded.

The company is suing Apple in the US and struck a licensing deal with Cisco in 2014, shortly before initiating lawsuits against Apple.

Facebook angers the Berlin courts

what-we-learned-about-facebook-ceo-mark-zucke-L-gl5gYRA regional court in Berlin found that the social notworking site Facebook had not changed its terms and conditions statement to adequately address intellectual property concerns.

The court fined Facebook $109,000 a week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s visited Berlin to collect the first ever Axel Springer Award for entrepreneurship and something people call innovation.

However, four years ago, a German court found that Facebook’s terms and conditions did not address the circumstances in which users’ intellectual property could be used by Facebook or even licensed to third parties.

The regional court in Berlin ruled today that while Facebook did change the wording of the statement on intellectual property in their terms and conditions, the message remained the same.

Facebook, however, said that the problem was with the timing. “We complied with the order to clarify a single provision in our terms concerning an IP license a while ago. The court felt we did not update our terms quickly enough and has issued a fine, which we will pay.”

However, the court’s ruling stated that the problem was not with the speed by which the clause was updated, but with the fact that the key message was never changed.

This is just one in a string of legal problems for Facebook in Germany and throughout Europe. They have been under fire for their use of facial recognition technology, which prompts users to ‘tag’ people in their photos.

In 2012, the District Court of Berlin ruled that Facebook violated user rights with its FriendFinder function, a decision which was upheld in a lower court in 2014, and again on January 15 of this year.

Facebook is also in trouble with the French authorities for suspending the account of a teacher who posted a famous nude painting.

The Austrian Supreme Court will also hear if a privacy lawsuit initiated by Viennese lawyer Max Schrems in 2014 should be treated as a class action.