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Chaos Computer Club criticizes police action (spiegel.de)
195 points by singularity2001 on July 4, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments

CCC reported this on their own website earlier today. https://www.ccc.de/en/updates/2018/hausdurchsuchungen-bei-ve... (in english)

Thanks, we've moved most comments to the thread here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17456289.

DeepL's translator works super well from DE to EN (for the original article) -- https://www.deepl.com/translator

Translation from deepl.com:

House searches of net activists

Chaos Computer Club criticizes police action

Police have searched club rooms and homes of net activists. Those affected are only witnesses, but documents and technology have been confiscated. This raises questions of proportionality.

By Maik Baumgärtner, Martin Knobbe and Vanessa Schlesier Evidence object from the OpenLab in Augsburg: object from the 3D printer intimate

At the instigation of the Munich Public Prosecutor's Office, the premises of the Dresdner Verein Zwiebelfreunde and the apartments of board members in Berlin, Dresden, Augsburg and Jena were searched on June 20. In addition to hard disks, mobile phones and computer technology, police officers also confiscated a number of documents such as donation receipts and membership lists from previous years. The Augsburg premises of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) were also searched.

The broad police action raises questions of proportionality. The Munich public prosecutor's office is looking for the authors of the blog "Augsburg for riot tourists", which called for violent protests against the AfD federal party conference last weekend. The anonymous blog operators published an e-mail address for contacting the US-American technology collective RiseUp.

The association Zwiebelfreunde has been collecting donations for the alternative and non-commercial provider for years, whose services for confidential communication are mainly used by social movements worldwide. This is obviously the only reason why the German investigators took such massive action against the association.

Early morning search

Two weeks ago, shortly after 6 o'clock, the doorbell rang at the apartment door of the co-founder and board member of the Zwiebelfreunde, Moritz Bartl, in Augsburg. The investigators informed Bartl that they wanted to find out the identities of the initiators of the blog. According to Bartls, they took not only equipment and documents of the association, but also equipment and documents of his company as well as personal belongings of family members.

"Since then, normal work has been virtually impossible," says Bartl, who is not considered an accused person in the trial, but merely a witness - like everyone else searched. "I had to take a vacation. We are still trying to process what has happened."

"A call from the prosecution could have cleared all this up."

Bartl cannot explain the massive action of the police: "As experts in anonymization and encryption, we are regularly invited as speakers by police authorities. A call to the prosecution could have cleared all this up."

The onion friends were founded in 2011 and the association operates so-called Tor nodes, which serve to make the Tor network anonymous. Its members give lectures and workshops on data security, encryption and anonymization. They have also been working for years with NGOs such as Reporters Without Borders. The Dresden Institute for Data Protection, which advises companies and authorities, is a cooperation partner of the association.

Founder Bartl therefore suspects completely different motives of the authorities: "The extensive confiscations, also of documents of uninvolved projects, reinforce the impression that information about CCC Augsburg, our association and supporters should be collected here.

According to SPIEGEL information, only documents and data carriers no older than January 2018 should be confiscated. In fact, the documents confiscated date back to 2011 - which, according to those involved, was also evident to the officials.

"The search of witnesses is absolutely disproportionate."

Constanze Kurz, spokeswoman of the Chaos Computer Club, who has been working closely with the onion friends for years, sharply criticises the authorities' actions: "Searching witnesses is absolutely disproportionate, people are treated like criminals, and all they do is collect donations.

She emphasized that CCC data was also affected, since documents of the Executive Board were confiscated in Augsburg. "The case is a prime example of how excessive police action has a massive impact on people's lives and work," says Kurz.

At the request of the SPIEGEL, the responsible police did not want to comment. The Munich Public Prosecutor's Office announced that the persons affected by the search were not suspicious and that the evaluation of the confiscated computers and data carriers is continuing.

A scene during the search of the OpenLab project in Augsburg operated by Bartl seems curious: The officers found chemical formulas on a blackboard and various chemicals in the same room. They immediately took all those present, including Bartl, into custody and searched other rooms.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Wow, great translation! I could only find one meaning-distorting error:

Translation: “This is obviously the only reason why the German investigators took such massive action against the association.” (which reads very nearly like an editorial stance, not like dry newsprint, which is much more the actual tone of the German article)

The actual meaning is more along the lines of: “This seems to be the only reason why the German investigators took such massive action against the association.” (but “seems” might be to weak, however, “obvious” is definitely too strong).

Word for word this translation of “obvious” is correct, but the meaning this turn of phrase takes in journalistic writing in German is slightly different: It’s more along the lines of “this is so far we know now the only obvious explanation for this, we couldn’t find out about any other reason”.

It works as a sort of disclaimer, cautioning the reader that there could be as of yet unknown other factors involved, but at least those other factors aren’t anything obvious.

(Slight meaning distorting error, but interpretable with context “A call to the prosecution” should be “A call of the prosecution”. The difficulty is here that the German text could be interpreted both ways and in German it’s the context that determines the meaning.)

Also, the last paragraph is missing:

In a very short time it became clear what the detainees had already explained on the spot, according to their own statements: The chemicals were standard accessories for 3D printing and etching of circuit boards. Also, an object from the 3D printer, in the form of a bomb, landed in a bag of evidence. The corresponding inscription lists the offence "causing an explosive explosion". The item can be seen in action here on YouTube.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Deepl.com is an amazing automatic translator. I sometimes hesitate to post links online, thinking that it might be taken offline eventually due to popularity.

Thanks for taking the last paragraph through deepl.com. Also, if you look at the translation on deepl.com and click on the specific phrases, you will find various alternative translations that specific phrase. I am not sure if the specific meaning-distortion you mentioned would have the right alternative, but still I enjoy the fact that you can easily rephrase certain passages.

yes, "apparently" is a better fit than "obviously"

Ah, yeah, that’s the best translation. Didn’t think of that.

Zwiebelfreunde means "Onion Friends" btw

It's funny, sometimes DeepL translates the term, and sometimes leaves it as Zwiebelfreunde.

As a German, I think it's okay not to translate it because it seems to have been randomly chosen and doesn't seem to mean anything in the given context. It's just like some rock band names people come up with after a night with too much alcohol.

They were running TOR servers and educating people how to use TOR, so Onion Friends is probably not chosen randomly.

Zwiebelfreunde does not seem to be a random choice. The O in TOR stands for onion, so translating Zwiebelfreunde to onion friends makes this connection clear.

The last paragraph is missing in your translation.

Yes, I thought so. The presentation of the article I had didn't finish the last paragraph, so I assumed it was part of the paid content on the website and deleted it.


Would be happy with LE searching your home and seizing your hard drives if they said they are looking for extremists?

What extremism are you talking about?

I suppose he means things like G20 violence in Hamburg a year ago. That included e.g. trying to kill and harm police officers.


So (after reading the article), how is that in any way connected to the people impacted by the actions described here?

They sent donations to a free email service that the people calling for violent action against AfD happened to use. That's literally it.

And how's that related to CCC?

A local branch of them was affected, too. Police did not care much whose rooms/buildings to raid.

The CCC have colaborated with extremists for some time.

Depends how accurate the accusations are. I can criticise SWATting even when the target is my enemy.

What little I know at this point, is compatible with both “the police stopped some bad guys” and “the police mistook chemistry nerds for a threat”.

> the police stopped some bad guys

They didn't. They searched witnesses. Or "witnesses" because they were forwarding donations to riseup. Mozilla is donating to riseup too btw. So this is about on par as searching and confiscating random stuff at Mozilla's offices.

Not personally a fan of riseup, but that's fucked up.

Hosting an email provider and providing tor relays is extremism now?

Only if you write it in all caps

But they are just witnesses, the police say so them self.

"Just" is the wrong word. With the latest legislation in place, witnesses can be forced to make statements to the police under threat of duress, including fines and jail time.

Both organizations who are now complaining (Zwiebelfreunde and CCC) have extremist tendencies.

I don't know about this particular case, but there is the English euphemism "helping the police with their enquiries".

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