Tech Watch: German govt to use email spyware

BBC News reports an interesting and dangerous development:

German government plans to spy on terror suspects by deploying malicious e-mails have drawn sharp criticism.

The e-mails would contain Trojans – software that secretly installs itself on suspects’ computers, allowing agents to search the hard drives.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is quoted as saying the spyware would be used only in a few cases and for a limited time.

The measure would form part of a new anti-terrorism bill.

The political opposition in Germany have expressed concern and disgust over the measure, citing privacy concerns.

Christopher Nickson raises a relevant issue: You have to wonder exactly why the government announced this will happen, since it give forewarning to all those terrorist suspects.

My take is that, as in the Philippines, the German government may opt to use it against critics and oppositionists, not just so-called terrorist suspects.

Even anti-virus and anti-spyware companies my be in cahoots, says a ZDNet report. A more thorough report got published on CNet.

These should remind us that both government and big business are not just the worst spammers, but are also the worst violators of privacy rights. It should remind everyone that the right to privacy is basically a protection aginst undue state interference in personal affairs under whatever guise.

Implementing this email spyware scheme in the Philippines will be quite easy, considering continued US aid to so-called anti-terror efforts. Thus, government critics and other perceived “enemies of the state” (or practically anyone who think straight and not worship Mrs. Arroyo) should be extra careful with their email correspondence and try out spyware/virus-resistant Ubuntu.

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