Chaos Computer Club sues German gov't over NSA civil rights violations

A well-known hacking organization is suing spies over civil rights and liberties.

credit cnet
Credit: CNET

Hacking organization the Chaos Computer Club is suing the German government for allegedly aiding foreign intelligence agencies to spy on German citizens and violate their privacy.

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) said in a blog post that the group, in addition to the International League for Human Rights, have issued a criminal complaint to the Federal Prosecutor General's office.

The complaint is directed against the German government, the leaders of German secret services, U.S., British and German secret agents, their supervisors, the German Minister of the Interior as well as the German Chancellor, and alleges that German officials aided the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.K.'s GCHQ in "illegal and prohibited covert intelligence activities, along with aiding and abetting such activities."

In addition to alleged involvement in illegal spying activities, the European hacking group says that the German general public's "right to privacy" was violated.

"After months of press releases about mass surveillance by secret services and offensive attacks on information technology systems, we now have certainty that German and other countries' secret services have violated the German criminal law," The CCC say. "With this criminal complaint, we hope to finally initiate investigations by the Federal Prosecutor General against the German government. The CCC has learned with certainty that the leaders of the secret services and the federal government have aided and abetted the commission of these crimes."

Dr. Julius Mittenzwei, attorney and member of the CCC -- which is known for campaigning for privacy rights and exposing security vulnerabilities -- said that an investigation the Federal Prosecutor General "is necessary and mandatory by law."

Within the complaint, the CCC asks that former NSA contractor and source of leaks concerning the spy agency's confidential surveillance programs stand as witness, and that he should be "provided safe passage and protection against extradition to the United States."

The hacking group write:

"Together with the International League of Human Rights and digitalcourage, we want to bring to light more information about the illegal activities of German and foreign secret services and intend to bring the offenders of those crimes to accord."

In response to worldwide anger generated by the exposure of the NSA's spying, President Obama has proposed reforms and additional controls in order to control the diplomatic backlash and try to appease the general public. One change includes the winding down of the bulk metadata program -- which includes the recording of phone call metadata -- in March this year.

Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, an officer with a background in cryptology, signals intelligence, and cyberwarfare has recently  taken over as NSA chief  at a time when the agency is under intense scrutiny following the leaks.


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