Hearing on German Act on the Protection of the Constitution: Politicians must not simply wave through State Trojans

The Bundestag Committee on the Interior and Home Affairs will deal with the draft law on the amendment to the Act on Protection of the Constitution in a public hearing on Monday, 17 May from 12 noon. eco – Association of the Internet Industry explicitly warns against the consequences of telecommunications surveillance (lawful interception at the source)  and the use of spying software.

The use of so-called ‘State Trojans’ considerably weakens IT security and trust in digital communication and thus poses a threat to citizens, the economy and not least to the state itself. With all due understanding for the challenges in the fight against anti-constitutional endeavours, terrorism and organised crime, the results hoped for in future investigations using State Trojans are disproportionate in the opinion of the eco.

Klaus Landefeld, Vice-Chair of the eco Board, says:

“The planned amendment to constitutional protection affects us all, as it decisively weakens the basic trust in digital communication. If intelligence services can suddenly inject Trojan programmes onto devices, this has drastic consequences for IT security, data protection and the trustworthiness of communication. This concerns both users and the providers affected by the obligations to cooperate. With such a sensitive topic, it is imperative that the effects and consequences of the planned bill are discussed in detail in the parliamentary procedure and that the opinions of digital experts from business and civil society are heard. It is disappointing that such a far-reaching legislative procedure as the amendment to the Act on the Protection of the Constitution is to be passed in a fast-track procedure at short notice just before the end of the legislative period. Surveillance measures by intelligence services, even if it is only the ‘light version’, must not be waved through by politicians so easily. Providers are constantly working to ensure that their services and products meet the highest IT security standards, but the state bears just as much responsibility for a trustworthy, secure network. It is completely incomprehensible that this responsibility is once again not taken up, but on the contrary further undermined.”

The Association of the Internet Industry has summarised its main criticism in a key issues paper and sent it to the Committee on the Interior and Home Affairs.

Our demands for action for more trust and security online are summarised in the Internet Policy Agenda for the 2021 German Federal Election.

Learn more on our German-language website on this year’s federal elections in Germany: eco.de/wahldigital-2021

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