Germany has revealed that it has a team of 76 soldiers who are trained to defend the country from cyber attacks and software piracy. Wearing a uniform which is a bit like those worn by the Luftwaffe the secret unit was exposed by the German magazine Der Spiegel. Based in a barracks in the central Tomburg not far from Bonn, the unit is trained to sabotage attacks on Germany's World Wide Wibble connections. The commander of the corps is Brigadier General Wilhelm Kriesel, his 76-man team is a crack body of the 6,000 soldiers that he can call up to give them a hand. Germany is the first Nato country to create an operating unit of Web soldiers, or at least the first country which has let it be publicly known. Currently the German government is preparing a law that would regularise their position, calling them essentially as a kind of equivalent of defence in the virtual world. At the moment they have a slight problem in that they have to obey the same laws as everyone else and cannot act in the 'national interest'.
However the Der Spiegel article did mention that they would be used to combat software piracy which is somewhat alarming. While many people would accept that terrorists and other enemies of the fatherland need to be bought down by the military, they would be less happy if the military was being used by the movie studios and music industry as its own armed wing. Despite what the RIAA would have you believe, most P2P pirates are not a terrorists and you don't really want the state using anti-terrorist legislation to break down your door because you backed up Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Theoretically, General Kriesel's forces are supposed to focus on foreigners who attack the country's networks although terrorists who use Germany as a base will also be a target. Rather than nailing offenders to the walls in a hail of bullets, the law will require that the offenders are arrested. ( www.atomicmpc.com.au )