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The Spanish Police might use spying Trojans on individuals’ computers

19 June, 2013

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Spanien: Staatlicher Trojaner könnte künftig Privat-Computer ausspio...

A draft Criminal Procedure Code issued by the Spanish Ministry of Justice, authorises the police to install trojans on computers from surveyed individuals.

According to Article 350 of the proposed draft, prosecutors may ask the judge for “the installation of a software that allows the remote examination and without knowledge of the owner, of the content in computers, electronic devices, computer systems, instruments of massive storage or databases.” The measure is meant for crimes with punishments over 3 years, for terrorism, cyber crime and organised crime.

Moreover, the draft text says that official agents may require cooperation from “anyone who knows the operation of the computer system or measures applied in order to protect data held there", meaning experts, “hackers”, ISPs or other computer companies.

The draft has raised serious concerns related to privacy as well as to possible abuses. One of the most disturbing issues is the fact that there is no limit saying that such a computer programme will be limited to spying. There is no reference to what happens next with the data obtained. After the installation of the programme, the possibilities are unlimited.

Experts, such as Juan Carlos Ortiz Pradillo, from the University of Castilla-La Mancha, explained that if the draft remains as such, Spanish authorities will also have access to passwords that citizens use for their email, social network profiles, bank accounts and other online services.

Alberto Sáiz, a specialist in interventions in communications, stated the proposal was very invasive from the point of view of the fundamental rights, affecting the individual’s privacy as well as the communication secret in an extensive way. The expert considers that the range of crimes covered by the draft is too extensive and not precise enough.

In addition, companies will have to collaborate with the police if they require the installation of surveillance systems, something that will go against privacy rights and data protection rules.

Spanish police might use trojans to spy computers (4.06.2013)

The police will be able to use Trojans to investigate computers and tablets (only in Spanish, 3.06.2013)

Trojans in my computer? Possible? So what? (only in Spanish, 5.06.2013)

Legalising the use of Trojan viruses by the police puts in question citizen fundamental rights (only in Spanish, 6.06.2013)



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