22 votes

Nextcloud signs public letter, opposing German plan to force decryption of chat

10 comments

  1. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. 9000 Link Parent
      Normally I'm strongly in favor of strong encryption, but I've seen this line of reasoning before, and it makes me uncomfortable. Because, it feels like you could replace "encryption" with...

      The cat's out of the bag, the genie's out of the bottle, and technology is not going away no matter how many laws you try to put in place. If you block something, or neuter something, some enterprising soul will come along and build a bridge over your moat or dig a tunnel under your wall. At this point, I'm truly surprised that politicians still believe the appropriate way forward is to force hard limits on tech. That sucking sound is all the money leaving their tech industry.

      Normally I'm strongly in favor of strong encryption, but I've seen this line of reasoning before, and it makes me uncomfortable. Because, it feels like you could replace "encryption" with "privacy" and equally argue that privacy rights are dead, and any laws that try to mandate them, like the GDPR, are useless theatre that stiffles innovation. Companies will find some way to track you anyway, you might say.

      However, I don't want to cede that privacy is dead; at least, not that easily. I think a better defense of cryptography focuses on our inability to safely and selectively break it, not so much on the economics of why it's important. When we focus on the dilemma that the idea of breaking encryption puts us in, we can choose our path forward that way. Moralless appeals to economic progress can justify some pretty wack stuff.

      2 votes
  2. [7]
    rmgr Link
    I always thought Germany had its shit together with regard to tech.. Apparently not.

    I always thought Germany had its shit together with regard to tech.. Apparently not.

    5 votes
    1. [5]
      cwagner Link Parent
      No, Germany is horrible with tech. Our chancelor Merkel just a few years ago said "Das Internet ist für uns alle Neuland" (The Internet is a new thing for all of us). CSU (where this proposal...

      No, Germany is horrible with tech. Our chancelor Merkel just a few years ago said "Das Internet ist für uns alle Neuland" (The Internet is a new thing for all of us). CSU (where this proposal comes from; sister party of our majority party CDU) is extremely conservative in the sense that they oppose and fear all new technology.

      We barely have working public wifi because of "Störerhaftung", a thing where you become responsible for what people are doing on your wifi network.

      Our public startup scene is the China of Software: We copy ideas from the US. Usually almost 1-to-1. We used to have a shortlived Facebook clone (StudiVZ) that even included FB specific classes and CSS when it went public. Currently there is nebenan.de (literally "next door", a clone of nextdoor.com). Just two of many examples.

      Outside of big cities, our LTE network is questionable. Yet the politicians talk all about how important 5G is.

      The big stupid EU Article 13 thing? German idea, proposed by someone from the CDU. We have the Leistungsschutzrecht which was proposed by other CDU politicians when they took a break from being nested inside Axel Springer's ass (biggest German/European publisher), a law that forces Google to pay a Publisher for showing snippets in Google News while not allowing any publisher to opting-out of that.

      There are a lot more examples.

      This specific proposal is almost certainly going nowhere – last chance would be the constitutional court (the CDU doesn't care much about the constitution so quite a few times they have been told off by them for their proposals), but I don't even see this going that far. Seehofer in particular has little to no understanding of how technology works but a really big mouth.

      But what's very far from the truth, is that Germany (outside of B2B) is in any way on the forefront (or even middle field) of technology.

      /rant

      17 votes
      1. [4]
        Spel (edited ) Link Parent
        I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say with this. The internet is a new thing for all of us.

        No, Germany is horrible with tech. Our chancelor Merkel just a few years ago said "Das Internet ist für uns alle Neuland" (The Internet is a new thing for all of us).

        I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say with this. The internet is a new thing for all of us.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          cwagner Link Parent
          People had whole careers on internet things. Many teenagers grew up with the internet. Calling that "new" seems pretty weird.

          People had whole careers on internet things. Many teenagers grew up with the internet. Calling that "new" seems pretty weird.

          7 votes
          1. [2]
            Spel Link Parent
            I strongly disagree with that. It takes much more than a few decades for most technology to no longer be new. Ubiquitous personal computers are still new.

            I strongly disagree with that. It takes much more than a few decades for most technology to no longer be new. Ubiquitous personal computers are still new.

            2 votes
            1. HanakoIsBestGirl Link Parent
              Perhaps new is relative. For someone born in 1990, the internet is not really new, they have likely known it all their life. For someone born in 1960, the internet is relatively new, considering...

              Perhaps new is relative.

              For someone born in 1990, the internet is not really new, they have likely known it all their life.

              For someone born in 1960, the internet is relatively new, considering that they did not grow up with it. For them it is new (especially in its current form) and more difficult to understand.

              4 votes
    2. zaarn Link Parent
      The German minister of interior afairs, Horst Seehofer is possibly the worst person to have been put in charge of anything at federal level. This guy has 0 idea about digital things, or most other...

      The German minister of interior afairs, Horst Seehofer is possibly the worst person to have been put in charge of anything at federal level. This guy has 0 idea about digital things, or most other things, and constantly pushes out garbage level laws. He's from the conservative wing of the christian-conservative bavarian party CSU, which is only relevant because of complicated historical reasons.

      Luckily this is only a draft, so far, not a real proposal.

      6 votes
  3. HanakoIsBestGirl Link
    This seems very similar to the Assistance and Access bill in Australia. Hopefully Germany can succeed where Australia failed so miserably.

    This seems very similar to the Assistance and Access bill in Australia.

    Hopefully Germany can succeed where Australia failed so miserably.