Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Chaos Computer Club: Status quo is final battle of privacy vs surveillance

Published time: February 05, 2014 10:32
Demonstrators take part in a protest against the US National Security Agency (NSA) collecting German emails, online chats and phone calls and sharing some of it with the country's intelligence services in Berlin (AFP Photo / John Macdougall)

“History shows what happens when governments become less transparent and citizens become more transparent,” and any form of action, legal or otherwise, against mass state surveillance is warranted, Chaos Computer Club spokesperson Linus Neumann told RT.

On February 3, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), Europe’s largest association of hackers, filed a criminal complaint against the German government for aiding foreign spying by the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ. They allege violations of citizens’ right to privacy, basing their case on leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The CCC also invited the former NSA employee Snowden to give testimony as a witness.

RT: What is your group hoping to achieve with this lawsuit?

Linus Neuman: If you look at what happened in Germany after the Snowden revelations and the cause of the Snowden revelations, the answer is nothing. The German government has denied that there are any breaches in the law, that there is even any reason to act.

The general prosecutor has denied there’s even the faintest hint at criminal activity that would give a reason to investigate what’s going on and of course this type of reaction is quite unusual if you look at the German Constitution and German criminal law, so we’re wondering whether the refusal to do anything is because the people have something to hide or whether it is because they have something to be afraid of and we want to find out the answer to this question.

RT: The Chaos Computer Club…are described as a group of hacktivists hacking into private computer systems. Going after secretive data is something that hacktivists in general do. As a member of this group then why has this gotten you so angry that someone has dared to hack into private data?

LN: The Chaos Computer Club is an organization that respects citizen’s private rights and I can tell you any hacker will go to jail for far less than what we are seeing on German grounds here. So I try to correct this image of the evil hacker. I also want to remind you of what we do every day by helping people to protect their systems. So the knowledge about computer security weakness is not necessarily the motivation to actually exploit this, but it can also be pursued by the motivation to close this in order to protect citizens better.

RT: So if the court sees your point of view in the case and decides to back it, do you think other groups in other countries may follow suit?

LN: Depending on the situation in their country and the legal situation I certainly think they should follow if they have the legal base for this type of action. But I also acknowledge and welcome other actions that we see in other countries. For example activists in Utah are now trying to cut off the NSA’s water supply. Anything needs to be done now because I believe this is the one time in history that we’re going to have this discussion that we should have had way before all of this surveillance equipment was installed. If you look at the status quo, this is probably metaphorically speaking the final battle.

RT: You as a hacker understand the potential of the internet as a source of information. People are increasingly living their lives online and putting more information online. Wouldn't it be remiss for a government to try and delve as much into the online world as possible in order to get information that protects their national security?

LN: I certainly understand government’s motivations to penetrate these networks and to penetrate these social networks that people reveal online. It is however a danger to any democracy that a government reaches this kind of power over its people. We see abuse of this power every day. This is why we have laws against this, this is why we have constitutions against such activities and this is why we need to defend these rights because we know where history will lead us if we allow governments to become more and more nontransparent and its citizens to become more and more transparent.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Comments (2)

 

Douglas Dewar 06.02.2014 21:11

It all happened so blasted quickly ! It is as though one moment political sovereignty vested in an electorate and the next moment it vested in the billionaire class. Political parties and media industries were purchased, they now have the means to pass laws, tell us what to think and appoint those who judge us. And our new ruling class is unwilling to address the causes of the climate change which threatens to solve the overpopulation problem.

 

T J 05.02.2014 18:30

There was never a battle in the first place.
We carry smart phones, subscribe to internet and cable TV. We use debit and charge cards. We're tracked through gps and automatic plate readers. Privacy is long gone. We are living in an Orwellian society.
Governments of the world, under the guise of stopping terrorists have justified the wholesale removal of our rights.
Pandora s box has been opened, there is no going back. People have been lead like lambs to the slaughter.
Isn't technology great?

Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us

Follow us