Espionage Software Found Hidden in Cell Phones



G Data Software is a German security firm claiming the discovery of “malicious code” within the software of smart phone Star N9500, which is created in China (although the identity of the Chinese manufacturer is unknown). The German firm alleges that these phones are “preinstalled with espionage software”. This means that not only can a phone owner’s personal information be hacked and stolen, but rogue calls can be made and the phone’s camera/microphone externally controlled. “Bjoern Rupp, chief executive of the Berlin-based mobile security consultancy firm GSMK, said such cases are more common than people think.”

According to an online legal dictionary, “Espionage is the crime of spying on the federal government and/or transferring state secrets on behalf of a foreign country. The term applies particularly to the act of collecting military, industrial, and political data about one nation for the benefit of another.”  

GSMK is a company that specializes in secure phones and ensures privacy with strong encryption algorithms. They serve the need to protect phone owner’s data and exchanged information. According the company’s website, “[o]ver the past two decades, telecommunications interception has developed into a major industry. Intelligence agencies and private organizations in all countries routinely intercept calls that may yield sensitive political, military or economic information. The use of wiretapping has become so widespread, simple and uncontrolled that you must assume that records of your private calls and SMS end up in the wrong hands.”

Now that technology is making espionage easier to commit, how do you think perpetrators should be handled? The crime in this case looks like international fraud and invasion of privacy. Do you believe International criminal standards, laws and courts should be used to address these acts, or will only transactional business law apply?








  1. The problem of security and privacy breaches through the use of technology is particularly troubling. This issue has definitely started to gain international attention over the past year. I believe these situations should be handled seriously through the international courts. Depending on the severity of potential information that could be intercepted, the appropriate standard should apply. If such a severe security breach could occur based on an espionage attempt, criminal standards should apply. If it seems as if such a “malicious code” was created with the potential of intercepting petty information, then transactional business law should apply.

    If society allows the act of espionage to occur, then it threatens our own personal privacy rights. The government intercepting lay people’s data is another risk to humanity’s rights. It is important that the law stays on top of the ever changing and continuously growing technological advancements that could be a severe threat to human kind.

  2. I also agree that wiretapping has become very widespread, and has put the government and individuals themselves at risk. Security breaches occurring through something as simple as a cellphone is extremely troubling. If malicious codes can be placed into cellphones then no one is safe. Anyone buying a cellphone is at risk of personal information and trade secrets being publicized, and ultimately national security is at risk as well. Espionage used to be easier to spot, but just like terrorism has evolved, and enemies are harder to pinpoint, espionage too has become easier to accomplish. Since telecommunication interception has become a major industry, action must be taken immediately to put an end to this practice, or to at least to minimize these types of invasive practices. International courts need to step in and set strict guidelines and punishments for those who commit security breaches. If nothing is done now, then who knows what will come of this as technology advances.

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