German lawmakers OK plan to put messages under surveillance

Germany's parliament has approved a plan to allow for the surveillance of suspects' communications on messaging services such as WhatsApp.

The news agency dpa reported that parliament's lower house passed the legislation Thursday with the governing coalition's votes. It expands investigators' ability to install surveillance software on suspects' devices, so far limited to terrorism cases, to crimes including tax evasion or computer fraud.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the legislation plugs a gap in investigators' capacities that was "no longer acceptable in the fight against crime." He said that encryption rightly protects the confidentiality of communication "but encryption is not a carte blanche for criminals."