2015 is just around the corner. We are expecting it to be the year of mass-surveillance; you know why? Because, after NSA & GCHQ, a German Spy Agency is in the race to spy on millions of social media websites outside Germany.
Strategische Initiative Technik – Sounds Scary!
Germany's foreign intelligence agency has decided to invest €300 million (about US$375 million) in the next five years on technology that would let it spy in real time on social networks outside of Germany, and decrypt and monitor encrypted Internet traffic. This program is named as "Strategische Initiative Technik" (SIT, Strategic Initiative Technology).
What’s their Purpose, Anyway?
Recently, NSA was caught spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, which led the German government to demand a “no-spy” agreement from the USA. But, Barack Obama didn’t make any such deal. This incident has given a remarkable German uproar over the NSA affair. We suspect this incident has given birth to SIT (German Spy Agency) that seeks to monitor millions of social websites outside the Germany.
What Future Plans are Included in SIT?
According to a report by German daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, the system for real time social network monitoring is still in the construction phase. But, a prototype is expected to be launched next June that will monitor publicly available Twitter profiles and blogs. Some of the reported future plans for SIT are:
– To invest €4.5 million to crack and monitor HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) encrypted Internet traffic.
– By 2020, spend money in the black market to buy Zero-day exploit and unpublicized vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. This program is called "Nitidezza" and it will provide better protection to government networks.
– The program also plans to monitor internet exchanges outside the Germany. They have approved a budget of €4.5 million on a program called "Swop" to provide additional hidden access to a non-German exchange.
– The SIT also plans to build an early warning system for cyber attacks. An amount of €6.22 million is allocated to prepare this online surveillance push.
A Final Word of Warning for All Non-German Residents
Is it revenge or other mass-surveillance coming through our ways? It is not declared but the sure thing is if you are not a German resident, your privacy is at high risk. The program is designed to discard all information in German and only monitor non-German profiles.
Be extra cautious on social profiles, especially on Twitter. Who knows if the SIT program is already in beta testing and you may be the first victim.
Use VPN and NAT firewall for extra layer of security and be safe!