This morning German police confiscated the servers of the Pirate Party, currently the sixth largest political party in Germany. Details of the raid are still scarce, but initial information indicates that the raid was targeted at a service running on the Party’s servers. The timing is unfortunate with the Pirate Party participating in the upcoming election in Bremen this Sunday.
Just a few hours ago German police confiscated several servers belonging to the Pirate Party. The servers, hosted at AixIT in Offenbach, were taken following a request from the French authorities.
The reason for the raid is unclear at this point, but the Pirate Party believes that it’s unrelated to the party’s activities. The board of the Pirate Party has promised full transparency to assist with the investigation.
“At the moment, the Board does not expect delinquency on behalf of the Pirate Party. The investigation is not directed against the party or any of its subsidiaries, they are only involved as the server’s operators. The results are awaited with curiosity,” the Party said in a statement.
The information which the authorities provided to the Pirate Party suggests that the police were targeting a public service on a virtual server. The service has not been named, but there are concerns that the action to take the party’s entire server network down was disproportionate.
The timing of the raid is also unfortunate, as it happens just two days before the Bremen elections.
“The disconnection of all servers is a massive intrusion into the communications infrastructure of the sixth largest party in Germany. Considering the state elections taking place in Bremen in two days, this caused severe political damage, which the Board condemns decisively,” the Party continued.
“In relation to the ongoing investigations, it will have to be verified whether the issued search warrant was actually appropriate, especially whether the principle of proportionality was followed. After all, this action has led to a large-scale breakdown of the technical infrastructure of Pirate Party Germany.”
Although we can only speculate at this point, a plausible target of the raid could be the Piratepad service. Piratepad allows people to collaboratively draft documents, and unconfirmed rumors suggest that it was used to plan a DDoS attack against a French company.
Thus far, however, no official information has been provided about the nature of the French investigation. We will update this post accordingly as more information comes in.
Update: The Pirate Part released some additional information.
The servers were raided this morning 9:15 am following a warrant ordered by the Darmstadt prosecutor.
The investigation is not directed at the Pirate Party, but at unknown users of the Piratepad service who published an SSH Key which was allegedly used to attack a server of the French energy group EDF.
The Pirate Party stresses that the damage to their organization is enormous. Two days before the election their entire communication system was wiped out, and although the main page was brought back up, most services are still interrupted.
The Pirate Party further distances itself from the attacks on the websites of the German police, which started after the raid.