Germany’s equivalent of the FBI has put out a notice inquiring about highly-trained computer professionals who know how to exploit windows, speak different languages, and fight the bad guys. In short, Germany is developing its own spyware.
Although the Bundeskriminalamt’s (BKA) job offer is not overt, it is neither by any means secret. Germany is seeking to develop its own state brand of spyware in an effort to fight crime and curb terrorism. According to the advert, job applicants must “demonstrate a sound knowledge of C++…have a very good knowledge of low-level programming and the security mechanisms of Windows,” and exhibit a “high degree of creativity.”
Also, if selected, the applicant will be “tenured”, meaning that he or she can only be fired through a difficult mutual decision, essentially guaranteeing the applicant a long career with the agency.
In keeping with Germany’s equal opportunity laws, female candidates will “be strongly considered.”
The notice goes further, stating that if selected, the applicants would have the opportunity to form “international partnerships” where foreign language skills would be required. Whether this is a veiled reference to working with the FBI and CIA is anyone’s guess, but the BKA has already systematically met with its counterparts from 2008-2012 to discuss the issue of shared spying software. Ryan Gallagher writing for Slate.com in April posted a letter from German Secretary of State Ole Schroder to MP Andrej Hunko that detailed the dates and names of the participants of these meetings. The list includes the FBI, Britain, Israel, France, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium among others.
There has been much criticism over the use of government spying practices in Germany over the years, asking what limits can be imposed to prevent unnecessary spying into private lives.
Government-sponsored spyware has definitely been the covert weapon of choice in recent days, as many intelligence agencies have been turning to the software to track individuals and harvest information about them. The complicated software can record your Skype conversations, mine your data, turn on your webcam, take screenshots, and copy your emails.