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Ethiopia: German software companies accused of facilitating mass surveillance of journalists, activists & citizens

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23 March 2015

Ethiopia expands surveillance capacity with help of German tech company Trovicor

Author: Privacy Intl.

German surveillance technology company Trovicor played a central role in expanding the Ethiopian government's communications surveillance capacities, according to a joint investigation by Privacy International and netzpolitik.org. The company...provided equipment to Ethiopia's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in 2011 and offered to massively expand the government's ability to intercept and store internet protocol (IP) traffic across the national telecommunications backbone... Trovicor's predecessor in intelligence solutions, Siemens Pte worked closely with its British partner Gamma Group International via an offshore company in Lebanon to expand lawful interception in the east African country. Gamma Group's highly intrusive FinFisher malware suite was used to target Ethiopian dissidents....Since 1991, Ethiopia has been governed by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPDRF), a coalition of ethnically-based political parties that has severely restricted freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly....Headquartered in Munich, Elaman sells a range of surveillance equipment... 

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Company response
26 March 2015

Trovicor response

Author: Trovicor

"...The purpose of our products and solutions is to uncover and avert threats in the form of various criminal activities, e.g. drug and human trafficking, organised crime of all kinds as well as terrorist attacks. After many conversations with our customers, we are convinced that this is the case for our systems.We always adhere to all laws relevant to our business - including export regulations and embargoes, both in Germany and in the countries in which we operate.
trovicor does not develop products that can be classified as "state trojans" or "online Intrusion"..."

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Company non-response
7 April 2015

Elaman did not respond

Company non-response
7 April 2015

Gamma Group did not respond