German police raid homes of Tor-linked group’s board members

Posted on Jul 6, 2018

German police raid homes of Tor-linked group’s board members

One board member described the police’s justification for the raids as a ‘tenuous’ link between the privacy group, a blog, and its email address. In the early morning on June 20, German security services raided the homes of several board members of Zwiebelfreunde, a non-profit group that helps to support privacy and anonymity projects. Moritz Bartl in Augsburg, Jens Kubieziel in Jena, and Juris Vetra in Berlin were raided, as was the home of a former board member who still had access to the board’s bank accounts.

The former board member arrived home from a business trip to find his locks had been changed, and was told to collect his new keys from the police department. The coordinated raids took place after Krawalltouristen, a left-wing blog which translates to ‘riot tourists,’ had called for protest action around the annual convention of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the largest opposition party in the German parliament. Law enforcement believed that the protest could be violent, according to Bartl.

The raids were the latest in a series of intrusions by law enforcement into a community built around protecting its privacy, which is not only likely to drive a greater wedge between the privacy conscious and the authorities, but may result in a chilling effect on those whose identities were compromised. Police obtained a warrant to seize communications from Zwiebelfreunde relating to the blog and the email address hosted by Riseup, a privacy-focused email service.