German Interior Minister Otto Schily is contemplating a scheme to disable foreign Web sites which pander to neo-Nazis by ordering them struck with denial of service (DoS) attacks, Der Spiegel reports.
In response to the high-profile DoS attacks last year, Schily established an Internet Task Force to protect Germany's critical infrastructure. Schily seeks to transform its role into something more like a "rapid deployment force," the magazine says.
The government believes such attacks would be legal, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Dirk Inger. Such attacks would represent "the defense of our system of laws against illegal attacks by those who consciously exploit the international medium of the Internet."
Mind you, the Web sites in question would be hosted overseas, presumably in compliance with local laws. In the USA, for example, hate speech and Holocaust denial are protected by the First Amendment, though they are crimes in Germany.
Not surprisingly, a lot of German neo-Nazis skirt their own laws by publishing their rubbish abroad, especially in the USA where it's perfectly legal.
The German Supreme Court ruled a week ago that laws regarding Nazi material can affect people who publish it "on the Internet, on a foreign server that is accessible to Internet users in Germany."
This is hardly a surprise, as Germany has a rather long history of ignoring the sovereignty of other nations which it happens to consider itself superior to.
Obviously Schily has noodled out the fact that no country will honor an extradition request for someone accused of making Nazi materials available to German Netizens, unless the accused is committing a crime recognized by the second country.
Hence his brilliant idea of sponsoring script kiddies to perform extrajudicial attacks to disable the Web sites directly. Of course that's a crime at the moment, but perhaps the German courts will make an exception such that it would be legal for hackers to disable sites that publish wrong-headed ideas which bother the German government.
So if this plays out, Germany would become one of the few countries that doesn't prosecute hackers because it's the one of the few countries that outlaws a specific body of evil thoughts. Quite a nice bit of pretzel logic, we must allow. ®
the Ministry denies the story (auf Deutsch)