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German prosecutor to investigate FinFisher for allegedly selling spyware used against journalists and activists in Turkey without license

"German prosecutor opens criminal investigation into Finfisher for selling spyware to Turkey without license", 5 Sep 2019

The Society for Civil Rights (GFF), Reporters Without Borders Germany (RSF Germany) the blog netzpolitik.org and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed criminal complaints against several high ranking CEOs of the German companies FinFisher GmbH, FinFisher Labs GmbH and Elaman GmbH for exporting the spyware FinSpy to Turkey without an export license. The public prosecutor’s office in Munich [...] has opened an investigation on suspicion of violation of the Foreign Trade and Payments Act. This could result in a fine or up to five years imprisonment.

A FinSpy sample found on a Turkish website built the basis for this lawsuit. The Turkish government allegedly planted the spyware on a fake version of the Turkish oppositional website Adalet [...] offer[ing] users a download of a networking application that, once installed, infected their devices with the FinSpy malware...

Since 2015, the European dual-use regulation and the German Foreign Trade and Payments Act have required companies to obtain a license when exporting surveillance technology outside the EU. The German government has confirmed that it has not granted export licenses for intrusion software since 2015...

This example shows the need for the strict and transparent EU-wide regulations on surveillance technology exports, as well as enforcement...

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