GERMAN POLICE have seized the personal details of individuals believed to have made donations to the upkeep of the infrastructure of Tor, the controversial anonymity engine which provides, amongst other things, access to the so-called "dark" or "deep" web.
TorServers.net, which was raided last week, wasn't the original target. The node was being investigated as part of a wider probe of far-left and far-right groups using the technology to organise meetings.
In this case, a left-wing blog called 'Krawalltouristen was using Tor to plan a protest of a far-right march.
The raids in Dresden covered five locations, including the office of a local lawyer.
As well as the TorServers node, the facility also handles traffic for the Tails operating system as well as the RiseUp VPN, known for their regular ignorance of police requests and 'failure' to keep logs.
The big concern here is that the police involved are, for want of a better phrase, in over their heads. They didn't go looking for a global encryption ring - they just wanted to bash in some Nazis and snowflakes.
But involved they are and now they have details of innocent people - remember, TorServers has done nothing wrong here, merely been a conduit - who have slung TorServers some cash as a goodwill gesture for services rendered. Tor was supposed to be improving this sort of anonymity but, seemingly, improved algorithms are no substitute for truncheons.
Additionally, the four homes had devices taken, many of which contained nothing but Angry Birds and some family photos. Weird behaviour from one of the most passionate privacy advocating countries in the world.
TorServers commented: "Last week Monday, the prosecution stated that they will keep our things for further analysis, even after explicitly confirming to journalists that they are aware that our only connection to Riseup is the collection of donations.
"This includes items belonging to our partners, and other third parties like companies we work for."
According to privacy bloggers at Amity Underground, German law does give the government the right to do some pretty nasty shizz to these peoples' internet if it wants to - right up to and including planting a trojan in their networks to intercept traffic, or worse. μ
What could possibly go wrong...
Committee clams firm failed to implement 'adequate security'
Meme Ban means Meme Ban
It's anonymous data at first but the NYT figured out how to make it personal