Anti-terrorism official: Police must snoop online

14th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

14th December 2007, Reviewing what has changed in the past year, she said, "the internet has developed into the decisive means of communication within international Islamist terrorism."

14th December 2007

Reviewing what has changed in the past year, she said, "the internet has developed into the decisive means of communication within international Islamist terrorism."

Harms said a Berlin-based team, the Joint Internet Centre (GIZ), consisting of about 30 German police and intelligence officers, had been working full time since January monitoring Islamist activity on the internet and analyzing Islamist websites.

Speaking to reporters in the federal justice capital, Karlsruhe, she said the internet was being used to give orders to conduct attacks or to publish blueprints for bombs.

"It provides a technical platform for new forms of telephony and written communication, where effective encryption is able de facto to prevent interception by third parties," she warned.

"It is indispensable for investigative authorities to have access to the communications of suspects," she said, referring to a debate in Germany about whether police should use software viruses to quietly read files on serious-crime suspects' computers.

"There are established instruments, such as telephone tapping, or the use of technology to establish the location of mobile phones. But technical change forces one to constantly review the technical arsenal," she said.

Vigilance was vital to detect attack plans before they happened, said Harms, who directs prosecutors and police fighting crimes against the state.

DPA

Subject: German news, terrorism

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