What happened online? June 2016

Nearby Dust Clouds in the Milky Way / Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Acknowledgment: P. McCullough (STScI)

01/06 At the Potsdam Security Conference, the President of the German Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungschutz), Hans-Georg Maaßen, warns of internet espionage and “the planting of digital time bombs”. He accuses Russia of “conscious manipulation” and “tendentious, or false, reporting”.

01/06 The German Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt BKA) reports successes in the fight against dark net sales platforms. “We are able to conduct investigations on the internet, to recruit informants, to take over their platforms and to secure Bitcoins”, says BKA Vice President Henzler at the second Potsdam Security Conference.

02/06 Representatives of the EU and the USA conclude an agreement on data protection for transatlantic cooperation between prosecutors. The framework agreement should set the basis for data exchange and strengthen EU citizens’ rights. However, approval by the European Parliament is still required.

03/06 An employee of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) testifies to the NSA Investigation Committee that no geolocation-compatible telephone data has been handed to the USA. They say that a mobile telephone number alone is not sufficient for a targeted drone strike.

08/06 France releases an app at the start of the UEFA European Championship that can alert citizens to possible terror attacks. It was developed in response to the terror attacks of January and November 2015.

10/06 On the advice of security agencies, the Indian government forbids the American company Google from taking photographs for Google Street View. The 2008 Mumbai attackers are said to have used similar services to plan their attack.

10/06 Head of Deutsche Bahn Rüdiger Grube announces that self-driving trains will be in operation from 2023 at the latest. A test system is already in operation in the Erz Mountains. Because of differing train speeds, a self-driving national rail network is harder to implement than, for example, a self-driving metro rail system.

16/06 The Augsburg Administrative Court rules that a blog does not count as a media company, and its operators therefore do not have the right to press disclosure claims against authorities.

17/06 Germany’s Bundestag (Federal Parliament) and the Bundesrat (Federal Assembly) pass a reform of the German Teleservices Act, in order to offer legal security to wireless network operators by protecting them against nuisance liability claims. Experts consider the law inadequate. It takes force at the end of July.

21/06 The Berlin Regional Court approves a claim by the Mannheim Reiss-Engelhorn Museum against the Wikimedia Foundation. The suit refers to the question of whether reproductions of works which are in the public domain are protected. Wikimedia has indicated that they mean to appeal the judgement and if necessary to pursue it through the institutions.

24/06 The “Law on Implementing Anti-Terror Measures” will be rushed through the Bundestag. It contains measures such as requiring proof of identity to obtain prepaid cards, greater exchange of information between the secret services and more undercover investigators. Critics have cited “questions of constitutionality”.

29/06 The research lab Fraunhofer Institute, working with Deutsche Telecom, releases what they call “People’s Encryption”. This free software is designed to allow every private user the ability to implement end-to-end encryption of their email correspondence.

“Das Netz – digitalization and Society. English edition” gathers writers, activists, scientists, politicians and entrepreneurs to think about the developments of our digital life. More than 50 contributions reflect on the digital transformation of society. It is available as a free PDF. Download here!