Privacy in Germany: What’s going on?

December 19, 2007

This is a meta-posting describing what’s going on in Germany.


German Privacy Foundation (GPF)

The German Privacy Foundation was finally officially established. The GPF thinks everyone has the right for privacy and anonymous communication. Anonymity is one of the fundamental basics to privacy and support human- and citizen’s rights.

It’s goals are to inform and educate about safe communication on the internet, supporting and organising tutorialsfor citizen about those topics.

The GPF is supporting and endorsing the development and deployment of anonymous infrastructure.

The GPF is a non-profit organisation according to the German law.

Contact: Use the Contact-Form.

Privacy Legal Fund (Germany) [PLF]

The Privacy Legal Fund (Germany) is a yet-to-be-founded organisation which will help voluntary operators of anonymisation-services like JAP, Tor, Mixmaster, Entropy, Freenet et al. with their problems with the Feds.

Much like the GPF, they want to promote the useage of privacy-enhancing internet-tools, but puts it’s emphasis on direct action instead of education. In that sense, the GPF and the PLC will be complementary.

The PLF doesn’t have fixed rules yet, they’re still to be defined. The PLF will be a non-profit organisation.

Contact: Contact me using the contact-form in this blog. You may encrypt the message using the PGP-key 0x90DEE171.


Both, the GPF and the PLF, will meet on the Chaos Communication Congress 24 in Berlin at the 27th-30th of December 2007 in Berlin.

On the 27th the PLF will meet for it’s founding-ceremony.
On the 28th the PLF and the GPF will meet to discuss the cooperation of both organisations.

Roger Dingledine, head of the Tor-project, will attend 24C3 for some talks as well.

Other Events:

There should be a “10 Years GnuPG“-party in Düsseldorf featuring Werner Koch this Thursday; however, no official annoucement was made yet. Still waiting.



January 7, 2007

Fellowship of the FSFE logoRecently I quit my membership in the German Computer Science Society (“Gesellschaft für Informatik”), mostly because I think they don’t have a real perspective. For years and years I thought that they start to be a bit more pragmatic, but they kept insisting on the “one and only lore”. I know that they’re more about science and teaching, but they didn’t meet my expectations – especially when it comes to software patents. I was recruted by them when I was still a student so I feel quite sore and sorry to leave them – but we weren’t made for staying together.
So I resigned as a member in December, something I actually didn’t want to, for I believe that people like the Bitkom don’t really present us, the hackers, fiddlers and freelancers, in a true sense.The Bitkom is more about big corporate business, the GI more about science and teaching.
Nonetheless, the GI was to far off for me too. They got me as a student, nowadays we’re not aligned any more and they can’t offer me anything.

I had to find my own way, so I finally decided – after much lobbying from friends who were already active members – to join the European chapter of the Free Software Foundation as a Fellow.

And there I am, a new proud member of the Free Software Foundation Europe.

What do I want to achieve with it? Not sure yet, but I feel that my contribution – means my membership-fee of 120 EUR a year – is better with the FSFE than with the GI.

My goals? I’d like to establish a TOR legal-fund. Maybe the FSFE is the right platform for it, although I’d be better of with the EFF, but they don’t seem to have a well-organised European chapter. Considering my recent experience with the german Feds and my lawyer’s bill – just a mere 150 EUR though – I started to think how other people with no funds could defend themselves against ill accusations. Rabenhorst said that he doesn’t really agree with me that the Feds did the right thing how to prosecute evildoers who abuse TOR. I’m still not with his opinion since running TOR is one thing and prosecuting child-porn dealers is another one, but others pointed out correctly that there are other people running TOR who don’t have the funds to hire a lawyer as I have.

I can’t promise anything by now, I don’t have a real plan yet; but a TOR legal-fund for us German TOR-operators wouldn’t be too bad.

If you feel inclined to help me out with it, drop me a line, I’d be happy to discuss a legal fund as I have a lawyer handy who might be able to consult us.

Cheers, Alex, FSFE member #916.

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