Does the "state Trojan" encroach on basic rights?

The German government passed a law on Thursday allowing authorities to install surveillance software on private computers and smartphones. The debate on this controversial issue started only shortly before the vote. German commentators are incensed.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

An invasion of privacy

For the Süddeutsche Zeitung not just the lack of debate but the law itself is scandalous:

“We're talking about an unprecedented encroachment on individual rights. The planned law has science-fiction-like aspects, it paves the way for mind-reading: computers and mobile phones can be turned into spying tools without the person in question knowing about it. … The state reads what you read. And the state can also switch on the microphone and the webcam on your PC. Compared with these new options, the large-scale bugging operation which was the subject of so much bitter debate and struggle is laughable. The computer attack is far, far more comprehensive. It's not just an attack, it's an invasion of privacy - and an invasion of the basic law.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

No reason for this rush job

Deutschlandfunk wonders how a law with such far-reaching consequences could be rushed through parliament without prior discussion:

“Yes, it's a problem for prosecutors when they don't have access to suspects' telecommunications. Yes, it's a problem for them and thus for society when they can't do their job properly. And yes, it's also true that criminals don't really care whether law enforcement agencies can do their job or whether their activities are compatible with the legal situation. However: there was no reason for this rush job - there was no reason to push through this law before the summer holidays without proper discussion. … The chosen parliamentary procedure has exposed a massive security gap - a security gap in parliamentary protection of basic rights.”