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Now, German police can hack Whatsapp messages

Representative image. Source: Flickr Photograph: (Others)

WION Web Team Germany Jul 27, 2017, 12.47 PM (IST)

German police are developing a software that can hack into people's smartphones and read encrypted messages. The software is expected to come by the end of the year. 

The German Bundestag had introduced a law in June giving full access of chat messages, video recordings, and other private data to the police. The law allowed police not only to intercept data from terrorist but anyone suspected of any criminal activity. The "state trojans" intercepted user communication before they were encrypted on the devices. 

However, according to a leaked report, the German Federal Criminal Police had been working on developing a surveillance even before the law was passed. 

Netzpolitik, a German Independent media outlet reported on the basis of a leaked report that the German police is working on a new version of Remote Communication Interception Software(RCIS). RCIS is used for introspecting electronic devices. 

The new version of RCIS is designed to hack smartphones and tablets with Android, iOS and Blackberry operating systems. The existing version can only hack desktop computers. 

The device can hack the messages directly from the source that is the user's screens. It is targeted at messaging services like Whatsapp or telegram making it a probable "surveillance" software in the hands of a government.  

Activists and politicians have criticised the massive "state surveillance" calling it a threat to people's security. 

Also, an activist of UK based NGO Privacy International, Erin Omanovic said that similar measures aimed at providing security services the right to hack into people’s electronic devices are being made not only in Germany but also in many other countries, Deutsche Welle reported. 

"Some of these capabilities have already been practiced across Europe," Omanovic said.

"The UK, for example, has been engaged in hacking but just hasn't legalised it. There's a complete lack of safeguards and oversight over the use of this type of technology. And there have been some examples of misuse by governments around the world. For example, there's evidence that FinSpy was used to target human rights activists and lawyers in Bahrain," he added.

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