Amendment to the German Act for the Protection of the Constitution: eco Warns Against Use of State Trojans and Calls for an Expert Hearing in the Bundestag

The heads of the CDU/CSU and SPD parliamentary groups recently agreed on far-reaching powers for the German intelligence services. The draft Act on the Protection of the Constitution, which was passed by the federal government in October last year, is expected to be debated in the Bundestag this week and adopted in a fast-track procedure.

eco – Association of the Internet Industry is highly critical of the fact that the coalition is apparently ignoring all warnings about the consequences of source telecommunication surveillance and the use of so-called “State Trojans”, and calls for a hearing with digital experts in the Bundestag.

On this topic, eco’s Vice Chair Klaus Landefeld has the following to say:

“The planned amendment to the protection of the constitution will affect us all, as it will seriously undermine the baseline trust in digital communications. If intelligence services can suddenly install Trojan programmes on devices, this will have drastic consequences for IT security, data protection and the trustworthiness of communication. This will affect both users and the providers who are obliged to comply with the amendment. In dealing with such a sensitive topic, it is imperative that the opinion of digital experts from industry and civil society is heard. Surveillance measures for intelligence services, even if they only constitute the ‘light version’, must not be simply rubber-stamped by politicians. Providers are constantly working to ensure that their services and products meet the highest IT security standards, but the state holds just as much responsibility for a trustworthy, secure network. It’s so hard to believe that this responsibility is once again not only not being met, but is being further eroded.”

The eco Association also provides recommendations for action for more trust and security on the Internet in its Internet Policy Agenda for the 2021 German Bundestag elections, with the 20 core demands of this agenda available for download here.

eco Association on the German BND Act: State Hacking Would Endanger IT Security and Undermine the Trustworthiness of the Internet