German police seize Pirate Party servers

Investigation is thought to involve Anonymous hacker group

Police in Germany have confiscated servers belonging to the Pirate Party as part of a criminal investigation.

On Friday morning, at the request of the French authorities, German police officers seized a number of Pirate Party servers in Hesse Offenbach. The move led to widespread disruption of the part's IT infrastructure as several websites and a communication platform for members were shut down.

A spokesman for the party said that neither the party itself nor any of its subsidiaries is under investigation and the party is distancing itself from any criminal wrongdoing. Early indications are that police are investigating the PiratenPad facility made available on one of the servers, according to the Pirate Party and the Etherpad Foundation. PiratenPad is a Web application that uses Etherpad software to allow users to freely contribute to and edit documents.

The party board said it would do everything legally required to comply with the investigation, but questioned whether the action taken by police had been proportionate and necessary.

"According to the information the board has been given, only a single public service on a virtual server of the party was affected. The disconnection of all servers is a massive intrusion," said a statement from the party.

The Etherpad Foundation also expressed its concern over the seizure. "We believe the police’s main reason for the raid is because PiratenPad was being used by the group 'Anonymous' to organize an attack," said the foundation. "The main cause for concern is that all Etherpad deployments are used by various groups completely openly, so we can assume that all German Etherpad deployments are now at potential risk of being impounded by the police."

The Anonymous hacker group comprises online activists who gained notoriety for attacks on, among other organizations, Scientology and Paypal. The attack on Paypal was attributed to the online payment system's block of donations to Wikileaks. Investigators are now examining Piratenpad for suspicious activity or references to the group. According to unverified speculation on Twitter, the group wanted to cripple a French energy company.

On Sunday the German Pirate Party will contest the state elections in Bremen and according to polls, is expected to achieve it best election result to date. The board said the server seizure has caused "severe political damage," which it condemned.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentlegalPirate Party

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?