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The new police spyware circumvents the encryption built into services such as WhatsApp by hacking the phones themselves and reading the messages "at source" on users' screens / Photo: IFII

German police acquires capability to hack WhatsApp – report

German police will be able to use surveillance software by the end 2017 that can hack into people’s smartphones and read encrypted messages in such services as WhatsApp, says a report that cites a leaked document.

A new version of the German police’s Remote Communication Interception Software (RCIS), which is used for surveillance over electronic devices, will be ready by the end of the year, a German independent media outlet, the Netzpolitik, reports, citing a leaked Interior Ministry internal progress report it obtained.

Unlike the previous version of the program, which was limited to surveillance only over desktop computers, the new software will be able to hack into smartphones and tablets with Android, iOS and Blackberry operating systems.

It can also circumvent the encryption systems built into various anonymous messaging services such as WhatsApp or Telegram by hacking directly into the devices themselves and obtaining the messages directly from the “source” – the users’ screens.

In June, the German Bundestag adopted a law that allowed the police to hack into messengers such as WhatsApp using “state trojans” to intercept user communications before they are encrypted on their devices as well as to gain full access to their chat messages, video recordings or other private data.

The law also gave police power to hack into the devices of all people suspected of any criminal activity – not just those who are suspected of terrorism.

However, the leak showed that the new version of the surveillance software that allowed hacking into smartphones and spying on anonymous messengers has been in development by the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) since at least the beginning of 2016 – almost a year and a half before the security service was legally allowed to develop such software.

With RT report

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