Austrian parties SPÖ and ÖVP want Whatsapp monitoring

Pierluigi Paganini May 29, 2017

Austrian SPÖ and ÖVP parties are fighting for WhatsApp instant messaging and plan further measures to fight the terrorism.

Both the Austrian Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) and the Austrian People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei; ÖVP) are fighting for instant messaging monitoring such as WhatsApp.

The experts believe that the Government will end anonymous mobile phone SIM cards after the election.

The recent terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena is fueling the discussion about state surveillance measures adopted in Austria to fight terrorism in the country.

According to the director of the Federal Office for Constitutional Protection and Terrorism, Peter Gridling, there is the concrete risk for an imminent attack.

“Concrete suspicious moments” for an imminent terrorist attack in Austria so far.” said Gridling on Friday evening in “ZiB2.

“The BAT director described it as an “illusion to believe that one succeeds in keeping 300 people around the clock under observation” “Priorities should be set. This could lead to situations where people classified as marginalized persons (…) are seen to be important actors, “he said, referring to the Manchester terrorist attack.”

Whatsapp monitoring surveillance

The ÖVP Chief Sebastian Kurz is urging an additional effort of law enforcement and intelligence agencies against terrorists. In March, the ÖVP presented a follow-up to the previous data retention and proposed an update to the law to allow the monitoring Whatsapp and Skype.

“We are waiting until now for a release to take the further steps to the implementation,” said Brandstetter spokesman Jim Lefebre to the STANDARD. SPÖ spokesman Johannes Jarolim was surprised at the statements.

SPÖ spokesman Johannes Jarolim was surprised at the statements.

The government has already approved a security package that may address Skype and Whatsapp monitoring without a Bundestrojaner that is the term used to indicate state-sponsored troja, aka Federal Trojan.

“Without the help of a Bundestrojaner, as Brandstetter has announced,” Jarolim said.

The principal problem is the impossibility in spying on end-to-end encrypted communications without the use of surveillance software of the presence of a backdoor in the encryption algorithms.

In Germany, authorities leverage on state surveillance software that is secretly installed on mobile devices to monitor the activities of the suspects and exfiltrate data.

Vice Chancellor Brandstetter assumes that Whatsapp users can be monitored that can be acquired with an international tender.

On the market, there are a number of applications that can be used to access Whatsapp chats from backups, one of them is the Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp, but they can not be used to access communication in real-time.

Another measure under discussion that could be included in the security package is the regulation regarding an end of anonymous mobile SIM cards.

While SPÖ and ÖVP already agreed in extending monitoring methods, the parties are negotiating for the end of anonymous mobile SIM cards.

“The plans came from Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP) and Hans Peter Doskozil (SPÖ), who agreed on fewer negotiating hours.” reported the Austrian agency

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Whatsapp, surveillance)

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