Constitutional complaint against the amendment of the telecommunication surveillance regulation (“G10” ), which for the first time grants all 19 German intelligence services the right to use malware to surveil ongoing and past communication data on devices, and against the existing information sharing system used by the domestic intelligence agencies.
Invasive surveillance by the German intelligence service
Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (“GFF“ , Society for Civil Rights)
Privacy and data protection
GFF has filed a constitutional complaint against a recent amendment by the German Bundestag to its telecommunication surveillance regulation (“G10”). This amendment introduces the ability for German intelligence services to surveil encrypted communication by installing malware on devices. GFF state the new provisions also provide an incentive for agencies to acquire and keep hidden knowledge of system vulnerabilities, which they exploit to install this malware. The amendment for the first time authorises all 19 state agencies to use this new type of surveillance technology, namely the intelligence services at the federal level as well as the intelligence services in all 16 federal states. It is thus the most comprehensive and relevant law on the use of such software. Finally, GFF believe the dangers are exacerbated by the fact that the intelligence services are notoriously opaque and inadequately controlled.
GFF believes the new provisions in the regulation go far beyond the boundaries set out by the Federal Constitutional Court. This includes a lack of regulation that clarify under what circumstances system IT-vulnerabilities need to be disclosed in order to fulfil the state’s duty to protect. GFF hopes for the Court to rule these provisions are unconstitutional and to make a declaration on the unconstitutional nature of the information sharing system used by German intelligence agencies. GFF state that under this system almost all data gathered by any one intelligence agency is saved in a common database and is therefore more or less freely shared with all other domestic intelligence agencies – without procedural requirements or any supervision.
GFF submitted the complaint on 7 July 2022 (reference number: 1 BvR 1295/22).
"This amendment introduces the ability for German intelligence services to surveil encrypted communication by installing malware on devices. "
To reduce government surveillance by ensuring that government laws and regulations on surveillance do not go beyond the boundaries set out by the Constitutional Court.
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