updated 1/10/2012 10:49:38 AM ET 2012-01-10T15:49:38

Some high-profile hacks are sparked by widespread public outrage, a political agenda, a collective protest against a company's controversial practices or a government's oppressive regime. Some start from a fight between a dad and his daughter.

According to the German newspaper Der Spiegel, a hack last summer into a German federal police server was prompted by the decision of a senior police officer from Frankfurt to install a Trojan on his daughter's computer to monitor her online activity.

A friend of the girl's "from the hacker scene" discovered the covert software and decided to retaliate. The friend hacked into the father's computer, where he found the officer had "diverted official [e]mails to his private computer." The hacker used the cop's work emails to hack into the "Patras" server, a surveillance system employed by the German police to track citizens' cars and phones.

The hack resulted in the government taking the surveillance server offline, according to the English-language German news site The Local.

German wiretap laws permit the use of a "Bundestrojaner" or "federal Trojan" to spy on suspected criminals or terrorists. It is not known whether the father spied on his daughter using this government-sanctioned tool.

In early July, a hacking group calling itself the "No Name Crew" infiltrated the Patras server, stole data and posted it online. A 23-year-old man was arrested for this incident; it is not known if the current incident is related to last summer's hack, or if in fact Patras was breached twice.

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