The Chaos Computer Club and the International League for Human Rights filed a criminal complaint with Germany’s Federal Prosecutor General’s Office, the Europe’s largest association of hackers said on February 3.

“We accuse US, British and German secret agents, their supervisors, the German Minister of the Interior as well as the German Chancellor of illegal and prohibited covert intelligence activities, of aiding and abetting of those activities, of violation of the right to privacy and obstruction of justice in office by bearing and cooperating with the electronic surveillance of German citizens by NSA and GCHQ,” the statement said.

The complaint is in response to the revelations over the past few months about the wide-scale surveillance activities conducted by the United States and Great Britain. CCC accused the German federal government, especially the presidents of German secret services, including Bundesnachrichtendienst, Militärischer Abschirmdienst, and Bundesamt für Verfassungschutz, of cooperating with these programs in violation of German law. CCC specifically cited three German federal laws, 99 StGB (illegal activity as a foreign spy), §§ 201 ff. StGB (violation of privacy), and § 258 StGB (obstruction of justice) in its complaint.

“The CCC has learned with certainty that the leaders of the secret services and the federal government have aided and abetted the commission of these crimes,” the statement said.

While the German government has expressed concerns about some of the NSA’s activities, critics have said Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, her government, and security officials may have tolerated and even helped members the NSA spy on Germans citizens.

The CCC asked that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden be called as a witness to testify against the government, and that he be provided safe passage and protection against extradition to the US.

“We want to bring to light more information about the illegal activities of German and foreign secret services and intend to bring the offenders of those crimes to accord,” CCC said.

Fahmida Y. Rashid is an accomplished security journalist and technologist. She is a regular contributor for several publications including where she is a networking and security analyst.  She also was a senior writer at eWeek where she covered security, core Internet infrastructure and open source. As well, she was a senior technical editor at CRN Test Center reviewing open source, storage, and networking products. 

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