By releasing the SpyFiles3 documents, Wikileaks published important information on the massively growing commercial surveillance industry and their dark deals with dictators — and with anybody else who pays (see press coverage on the leaks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Many of the involved companies are German. The business with surveillance brings amounts in the billions while causing suffering to humans. As profit is put over ethics and over the universal human right to privacy, this is an especially big danger to democracy. In this article I summarize the positions of the Pirate Party on this current issue concerning commercial surveillance software.
We, the Pirate Party Germany, are demanding not only an effective restriction of the export of surveillance software, but we also have adopted a much more extensive demand in our election manifesto, which I authored and which corresponds to our principles of transparency, our free-libre-open-source culture, and our general opposition to arbitrary, total and oppressive surveillance:
We demand full transparency on the business of companies dealing in surveillance software: To whom, to which regimes, do they sell which products and which support services? We also call for the public disclosure of the source code of the surveillance software that transmits private information to a third party without the knowledge of the computer user. This serves to make it possible for activists from for example the EFF, the CCC, or from the Citizen Lab in Canada, to analyze the code, to inform the punlic, and to help affected humans (e.g. protesters in oppressive regimes). Germany is already the third largest arms exporter in the world. We do not want this unethical success to be repeated with the surveillance industry.
We also thank Wikileaks for this release, which helps to expose important unethical processes and to protect democracy. The German companies Gamma and Trovicor (both based in Munich, Bavaria) are already notorious due to an OECD complaint against them which was filed by Reporters Without Borders, Privacy International and other human rights organizations, as well as Gamma for the Trojan software FinFisher, which – in addition to the use by the government in Bahrain – was recently bought by the German federal police BKA for their own needs. Against the latter contract the Pirate Party Germany submitted an official complaint.
We must work for a conscious approach to technology, so that decision falls on the first option.
See also: My posting on the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship and Surveillance.
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