The use of spyware by the government is fast becoming THE surveillance scandal of the year. In typical fashion, however, rather than deal with the substantive issues its use raises, there are those who would shoot the messenger or whistleblower. Cyrus Farivar reports:
On Tuesday, a pair of German researchers working for Kaspersky Labs, a computer security firm, discovered that there is a second, more powerful version of the Federal Trojan spyware, which can be run on more recent, 64-bit Windows computers.
It is also capable of conducting surveillance on a total of 15 applications, including Yahoo Messenger and Internet Explorer, more than the previous version.
A research paper published Thursday by the official analysis wing of the German parliament said that the CCC’s [Chaos Computer Club’s] publication of the trojan and its source code may in fact violate German law.
“Overall, it appears possible that the publication of the source code of a so-called trojan state is regarded as a criminal act under Section 258 of the Criminal Code obstruction of justice,” the paper said.
Anke Spriestersbach, the BKA spokesperson, added that some of those 23 cases, were ongoing prior to the halt of the surveillance software’s use.
The BKA had previously denied using the specific version of the spyware exposed by the CCC.
Read more about this matter on Deutsche-Welle. Not surprisingly, the company that makes the software now may be in the crosshairs of litigation:
In a related case on Thursday, Dominick Boecker, a Cologne-based IT attorney, announced his intention to file a civil lawsuit against DigiTask, the company behind the spyware. Boecker is representing Wavecon, a competitor based in Fürth, outside Nuremburg, in southern Germany.
“DigiTask manufactured products and sold software to law enforcement agencies [that] met the criminal definition of unauthorized interception of data,” Boecker wrote in a German-language statement on his website.