While Britain is still seeing the phone hacking scandal unfolding and gets to know more and more details about the affair, Germany this week had its very own hacking scandal of a different kind. The Chaos Computer Club has found out that a small company in Bavaria programmed a Trojan to be planted in computers to screen everything the users are typing etc. This of course happened with the authorization of the federal government.
The phone hacking scandal with all its implications was already an example of media influence and power gone bad. It made public the close relationship between power and the media and how much power the media wielded over those in government. Especially News International and their ties with the current government of David Cameron. The picture it painted was quite shocking. Not just did the paper invaded the private sphere of several people, it also interfered and interrupted a police investigation into a murder case.
This ‘Staatstrojaner’ scandal in Germany on the contrary turns every home computer into a tapping device which enables whomever has an interest to see what innocent citizens might be up to. Of course this all is explained with the fight against terrorism but it is not legal nor is it legitimate. So far no victims came forward which is due to the fact that not many could detect such a Trojan on their computer. And so far no life has been harmed as this hacking was only set up to exercise control and to act if there is evidence.
It appears that the film or at least the motive of the film, the life of the others, has become reality. Surveilling people is what East Germany did and did so with some success. As it is, this country does not exist any more and yet the current ‘regime’ seem to have adapted the methods and have arrived in the 21st century in terms of surveillance.