Friday, 12 December 2008

While Senator Conroy is busy saving the world from purr-verts, governments run rampant over the Internet...

Wikileaks reported on 16 November 2008:

Between Friday night and Sunday morning, a massive deletion operation took place at the European Internet address register (RIPE) to scrub references to a cover used by Germany's premier spy agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND.

The cleanup operation comes the night after Wikileaks revealed over two dozen covert BND networks provided by T-Systems (Deutsche Telekom). The IP addresses were assigned to an unregistered company at a Munich-based PO box linked to T-Systems.

T-Systems purged the RIPE database of all addresses exposed by Wikileaks, moving the addresses into a several giant anonymous "Class B" address pools.

The move comes just a few hours after T-Systems Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) contacted Wikileaks to demand removal of an internal T-Systems memo listing the BND cover addresses. Wikileaks refused and T-System did not respond to requests for further detail by the time of writing.

Yet an investigation into the addresses over the weekend reveals key information about the BND's Internet activities. Findings include the removal of information on the BND's own German Wikipedia entry--which stated that the Goethe Institute was sometimes used as BND cover, visits to websites including the Russian government and a Berlin escort agency (perhaps for "honey traps"), as well as crawling the Internet for terrorism related topics, such as the assassination of Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi.

Website references reveal that in 2006 numerous hosters of Internet websites complained about out of control "data mining" robots from two of the BND-linked IP addresses. One of the hosters ran a popular discussion forum on counter-terrorism operations.

The integrity and transparency of the RIPE system is not assisted by the T-Systems deletion. German citizens may wonder at the double standard. At a time when the population's Internet addresses are being recorded by ISPs under laws derisively referred to as "Stasi 2.0", the "real Stasi"—the BND, has had the largest telco in Germany scrub its addresses from the European record within 24 hours of their exposure.

In August Wikileaks revealed the 2006 Shaefer report's missing pages on how German intelligence infiltrated Focus magazine. The censored pages remain unreported in the German press and in particular Focus magazine.

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