Activist blows up the Office for the Protection of the Constitution with AirTag

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) not only has publicly known authorities. This is mainly due to the necessary secrecy for certain projects. But the facilities are not always as unknown as the BfV thinks. At the beginning of January 2022, the activist Lilith Wittmann came across the Federal Service for Telecommunications – a previously unknown authority. She took a closer look at the organ and found out astonishing things.

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Research without secret methods

Lilith Wittmann is not unknown to politics: In the 2021 election campaign, she uncovered security gaps in the CDU’s election campaign app. The self-proclaimed riot influencer also drew public attention to weaknesses in the development of the Luca app and the ID wallet. On January 12, 2022, she published her research on the officially listed federal agencies. In doing so, she came across an interesting institution: the Federal Service for Telecommunications. After a few clicks, it was clear to Wittmann that she had found the agency of the secret service, because the queries on the Internet platform “FragDenStaat” and the Freedom of Information Act did not provide much information. The telephone number given to the authority turned out to be a fax number and the details of the federal service that were available up to that point disappeared from the official website of the federal government following their inquiries. A small inquiry by a member of the Bundestag also did not shed any light on the matter.

An AirTag provides useful information

After the publication of the first results, Wittmann did not draw a line: she delved deeper and deeper into the publicly available information on the authority. In doing so, there were increasing indications that he belonged to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution – and not, as stated, to the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Homeland. According to their own statements, tips from users who had read their post were helpful for them. She obtained details of the rented building in Berlin and other positions in Cologne and Berlin. Wittmann came across corresponding IP addresses that showed publicly accessible where the Federal Ministry maintains unknown branch offices. With this discovery, she found out concrete names for the first time.

Wittmann then went one step further: she tried the phone numbers she found and reached someone there in the middle of the night. Curious: Nobody wanted to give her any information on the phone. Lilith Wittmann sees herself finally confirmed by another attempt: She hid an Apple AirTag in a package that went to the PO box she found in Cologne, and the mail actually delivered the letter directly to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in the cathedral city. You can read all the findings in detail in this blog post. By the way: the bell and mailbox signs that were temporarily attached to the building in Berlin have now disappeared. It is probably only a matter of time before the secret authority of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is openly known.

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