The EU Commission wants to take action against the use of the Pegasus spy software in Europe.
Europe could do a much better job of convincing the rest of the world of the value of data protection if this and other controversial software were not used here, said the Vice President of the Brussels authority, Vera Jourova, to Wirtschaftswoche in an interview published on Saturday.
"I'm looking for a legal way of how we can effectively respond to this at EU level," she said of the Pegasus mission.
In this context, Jourova referred to the work on a new data-sharing agreement with the United States.
"We are asking the US to do more on privacy," she said.
"Then we must put our own house in order."
The Pegasus software from the Israeli manufacturer NSO is able to read out all data from mobile phones attacked with it.
In addition, Pegasus can switch on the camera and microphone of the respective device unnoticed.
In the EU, Poland and Hungary, among others, have acquired corresponding licenses for their secret services.
Spying on journalists, politicians and company bosses?
Pegasus owner NSO was confronted last year with allegations from a network of 17 international media that the software had been used to spy on journalists, politicians, heads of state, activists and company bosses in various countries.
Such allegations were also directed against the governments in Warsaw and Budapest, which have been pilloried in Brussels for years because of deficiencies in the rule of law.
"Of course, national security is the sacred domain of member states," Jourova said.
"But I don't see why Pegasus should be used against journalists and opposition parties." She did not accept the argument of the member states that the EU had no role to play: "That is wrong."
In Germany, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) wants to achieve an amendment to the Basic Law for more federal powers in cyber security before the end of this year.
"We want to strengthen the defense and give the federal government a leading role," Faeser told the editorial network Germany against the background of a growing risk of cyber attacks by Russia as a result of the Ukraine war.
However, this would require an amendment to the Basic Law.
"Only the federal government can effectively counter complex and transnational dangers from cyber attacks," emphasized Faeser.
"We have a great deal of expertise with the National Cyber Defense Center and the skills of our security authorities, which we have all bundled there." However, the central role of the federal government must be laid down in the constitution.
So far, averting danger has mainly been a matter for the federal states.
According to Faeser, he also wants to “think about active measures that go beyond resolving an attack.” The government needs “opportunities to influence the systems that are being attacked and thereby end ongoing attacks or prevent new attacks “.
Faeser wants to "make a proposal" for the amendment to the Basic Law "this year" and discuss it "quickly" with the Union.
There are already “positive signals for this project” from the federal states.
Everyone agreed that there was a great need for action.
In addition to the Bundestag, the Bundesrat would also have to agree to an amendment to the Basic Law with a two-thirds majority.Keywords: