Avaaz- Raising Your Voice Against A Government Spying On You Online
It just emerged that the government is turning peoples’ computers into spying machines!
The Behördentrojaner can be used to turn on our computer microphones and cameras to record us without our knowledge. Law enforcement agencies have repeatedly ignored the Supreme Court orders and deployed this spyware — which goes far beyond legal wiretapping. While the government is considering whether to respond with a limited review or a full inquiry, our intervention can make the difference.
The Chaos Computer Club, a well-established group of German hackers, has revealed the existence of this spy software which can collect personaldata, and allow government agents to upload programs to our computers. The CCC provided an its analysis of the so-called “Bundestrojaner,” or “Federal Trojan,” had revealed that this “lawful interception” program goes far beyond what normally would be allowed under German law.
“The malware can not only siphon away intimate data but also offers a remote control or backdoor functionality for uploading and executing arbitrary other programs,” wrote the organization in an English-language post on its website. “Significant design and implementation flaws make all of the functionality available to anyone on the Internet.”
The spyware could even be used to plant evidence on a computer. “Functions clearly intended for breaking the law were implemented in this malware,” the CCC asserted.
The CCC, which came across the software through an anonymous tip, alleges the Trojan was developed by German police forces for intercepting personal data from computers, including those of private individuals.
Bavaria and three other states confirmed the software has been deployed on several occasions. Interior Minister Friedrich has made an ambiguous announcement that “this version” of the program has not been used by federal agencies and that they are verifying their version of the spy-software.
A recent Supreme Court ruling clearly states that online searches can only be carried out on people suspected of severe criminal offenses or
terrorism. But the German government appears to be snooping on ordinary people, such as a businessman who distributes health products. He has been underninvestigation for “commercial activity and export of narcotics”, because the products, though legal in Germany, might be illegal abroad. If he can be targeted, then any of us can.
Calls for an investigation are now resounding across the political spectrum. Chancellor Merkel has called for quick clarification, and the commissioner for data protection announced a limited investigation, criticising the lack of rules on surveillance software. Our push now can convert this political momentum into an in-depth public investigation and a working group to ensure our privacy is respected. Sign the petition at www.avaaz.org now.
Technologies such as computers and the internet are liberating, offering many opportunities to citizens to connect with each other, learn and
challenge abuses of power. But these mechanisms can also be abused. At moments like these we have to speak out to condemn those who — on our behalf — overreach their power. Italian Avaaz members have pushed back Berlusconi´s internet censorship laws, now it is time to raise voice against online spying by the German government.
A government surveillance software scandal that erupted in Germany this weekend has spread beyond that nation’s borders, raising questions about how far government officials around the globe might go to monitor citizens through spyware.Several additional German states have admitted to deploying spyware in order to investigate serious criminal offenses, according to regional media sources.