Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Data Protection

Berlin to Give Secret Services Access to Encrypted Conversations

The German government Wednesday agreed to allow secret services to listen in on conversations via encrypted messaging services such as Messenger or Whatsapp as a means of tackling terrorism.

The German government Wednesday agreed to allow secret services to listen in on conversations via encrypted messaging services such as Messenger or Whatsapp as a means of tackling terrorism.

Cabinet adopted a bill to that effect, drawn up after a series of far right attacks in the country, and the proposed legislation now goes forward for parliamentary assent.

The proposed legislation would allow intelligence services including military counterintelligence in future to monitor not just current conversations on messenger platforms but also encrypted messages already sent through use of “spy software”.

“I cannot accept our security authorities have to lag behind the enemies of our democracy because of a lack of powers,” said conservative Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who dubbed the legislation “an overdue step in the fight against terrorists and militant extremists”.

He added that intelligence services had to be given the means to deal with such threats in a digital age which “can see and hear.”

Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, a Social Democrat, agreed that they had to be placed on an equal technological footing “with those they are pursuing”, stressing the aim was to prevent crime rather than not to chase after civilians.

The government has also stipulated that the legislation will only be able to come on stream with the agreement of a special parliamentary commission which performs judicial oversight on interception of communications by federal intelligence agencies.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The legislation has been pieced together with Germany having been subjected to a number of terror attacks in recent years notably by rightwing extremists who published their hate-filled motives over the internet.

Some opposition groups have expressed concern that the legislation is too draconian with one Green lawmaker, Konstantin von Notz, saying it represents an attack on civilian rights.

The German branch of Reporters without Borders tweeted concern that journalists could also end up coming under pressure to reveal their sources.

Related: WhatsApp Defends Encryption as It Tops 2 Billion Users

Related: Bill Aimed at Ending ‘Warrant-Proof’ Encryption Introduced in House

Related: ‘Five Eyes’ Alliance Demands Ways to Access Encrypted Apps

Written By

AFP 2023

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

SecurityWeek’s Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit brings together security practitioners from around the world to share war stories on breaches, APT attacks and threat intelligence.


Securityweek’s CISO Forum will address issues and challenges that are top of mind for today’s security leaders and what the future looks like as chief defenders of the enterprise.


Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.

Data Protection

The cryptopocalypse is the point at which quantum computing becomes powerful enough to use Shor’s algorithm to crack PKI encryption.

Artificial Intelligence

The CRYSTALS-Kyber public-key encryption and key encapsulation mechanism recommended by NIST for post-quantum cryptography has been broken using AI combined with side channel attacks.

CISO Strategy

SecurityWeek spoke with more than 300 cybersecurity experts to see what is bubbling beneath the surface, and examine how those evolving threats will present...

Management & Strategy

SecurityWeek examines how a layoff-induced influx of experienced professionals into the job seeker market is affecting or might affect, the skills gap and recruitment...

CISO Conversations

In this issue of CISO Conversations we talk to two CISOs about solving the CISO/CIO conflict by combining the roles under one person.

CISO Strategy

Security professionals understand the need for resilience in their company’s security posture, but often fail to build their own psychological resilience to stress.


No one combatting cybercrime knows everything, but everyone in the battle has some intelligence to contribute to the larger knowledge base.