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?