European Data Protection Digest

Gov’t Agency Testing Spyware Programme

SURVEILLANCE—GERMANY

January 20, 2012

Germany's federal criminal agency (BKA) is testing a spyware programme that can monitor individuals through their computers, Deutsche Welle reports. FinSpy infiltrates computers by tricking a user to update software either on a personal computer or mobile phone. Once the programme infects a computer, it can monitor a user via webcam and download files without detection, the report states. A representative from Privacy International said, "The potential for abuse in the hands of low-level law enforcement is extraordinarily high, given the limits of any possible oversight mechanisms." Last year, German authorities' use of spyware also prompted privacy concerns.
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