Lawsuit Attempts To Hold Foreign Governments Accountable For Spying On Americans

By Derrick Broze

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is attempting to reverse a court decision that they say could potentially lead to immunity for foreign governments who spy, attack, and even murder Americans. 

On Thursday April 13, the Electronic Frontier Foundation asked an appeals court to review a decision that will allow foreign governments to monitor the activities of Americans in America. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)  is calling on the court to reverse the decision made in a case involving an American living in Maryland and the Ethiopian government. The case, Kidane v. Ethiopia, relates to the Ethiopian government attaching a malware program known as FinSpy to Mr. Kidane’s computer. FinSpy is capable of copying every keystroke made by the user, as well as Skype calls, and sending all of the data back to Ethiopia.

In March, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against Mr. Kidane and stated that foreign governments could not be held accountable for surveillance in American courts if they did not send a human agent to perform the spying. “In essence, this would mean governments around the world have immunity for spying, attacking, and even murdering Americans on American soil, as long as the activity is performed with software, robots, drones, or other digital tools,” the EFF writes.

“We already know about technology that will let attackers drive your car off the road, turn off your pacemaker, or watch every communication from your computer or your phone. As our lives become even more digital, the risks will only grow,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo. More than likely, her comments regarding driving cars off road is a reference to recent revelations from WikiLeaks’ Vault7, CIA leaks which show that, among other things, the agency can remotely control vehicles. Cardozo said the courts need to make it clear to governments around the world that “any illegal attack in the United States will be answered in court in the United States.”

The result of the court’s decision is that foreign governments are not expected to follow the same requirements for surveillance that the U.S. government is expected to. Of course, the reality is that the U.S. does not even follow its own rules on domestic surveillance or foreign surveillance.

“American citizens deserve to feel safe and secure in their own homes using their own computers,” EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn said. “The appeals court should vacate this decision, and ensure that the use of robots or remote controlled tools doesn’t prevent people who have been harmed by foreign government attacks from seeking justice.”

Whether or not this particular court reverses this particular decision, it should serve as a reminder of the ever growing, interconnecting nexus of surveillance programs, tools, and compliant courts. The only freedom and privacy left in America is what you are willing to stand up and fight for. We must organize on the local level to oppose and  counter the State’s surveillance.

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2

Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact Derrick@activistpost.com

This article may be freely reposted in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

Image Credit: Pixabay.com

  • Joe Blow

    An unamed CIA source of mine swears they are innocent. And then offered to play back a conversation I had with my girlfried from 2003 for free. 😂

  • The lawsuit described in the article is well motivated. There is a lot of precedent in US law for regarding spying as a harm done to someone, and it’s hard to think of any well motivated basis for saying that performing crime/attack by proxy software or robot somehow grants immunity to the controller.

    • blue579

      A surveillance society is the backbone of totalitarian technocracy. It doesn’t seem possible communism gaining political ascendancy in France at the same time the governments of China and Russia are promoting Maoism and Stalinism is simply a coincidence – so unlikely, a probability calculation is virtually unfeasible.

      With your background as a PhD from MIT, with MIT having recently published a children’s pamphlet on communism, what does this all seem to portend?

      • Statism & Totalitarianism are useful explanatory concepts, today and 100 years ago. Marxism was a useful label in its day, but there are no Marxist states today, and only a few rebel groups. Communism in actual implementation never really happened anywhere, and is not happening at the govt. level today. Neither Russia nor China are Communist, though both are Statist and Totalitarian to some degree (as is the US). In the US, we seem to have a lot more freedom and less Totalitarianism than most other countries, but some of that is illusory because many state actors such as the FBI, CIA, NSA, and parts of the DOD are committed and acting on Totalitarian govt. in a covert/shadow/secret/deniable way. Surveillance is part of that, but other parts are actually a lot more sinister. If govt. was run by honest angels then surveillance per se would be much less of a problem. In reality, the US govt. today is secretly involved in mass murder, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, slavery, and a host of other crimes, while pretending it is completely above such activities. The US govt. pursues a kind of Disneyland fascism, with a wholesome looking main street that is often an artificial fiction. The US is still better place to live in than most other countries – unless one is clandestine target. You can do a web search on “Targeted Individuals” or look for books on Amazon to read about large numbers of people who secretly assaulted by government agencies in various ways – sometimes because they were witnesses or whistleblowers or political dissidents, and sometimes just for illicit human experimentation purposes. MIT has always been, in part, a relatively conservative place, linked to a lot of DOD funding, and in part, a liberal place that is part of Cambridge MA. Communism or Marxism were never significant elements at MIT, and I met zero professed Commjnists or Marxists during the time I was there in the late ’80s, early ’90s.

        • blue579

          Technocracy is essentially the fusion of communism and fascism grounded in technology.

          Silicon Valley is essentially becoming the central nervous system of Technocracy, recruiting the likes of MIT grads to serve as the technocrat managerial class. Thus, the interesting of the juxtaposition of an article on this website in the past week about MIT publishing a communism pamphlet for children.

          • MIT and Silicon Valley are not at all homogenous. But one thinks of the largest corporations as representives of sectors. Once they become large, then they are very influenced and involved in politics, so they become part of the political/lobbying/control class or suffer business losses in the resulting conflicts. Government power wants to partner with corporate tech leaders, and it is a lot easier for them to do that than to oppose government polices, funding, and overreach. You are basically calling the US Deep State Communist. That strikes most as a redefinition of terms, but its true that the US is much more totalitarian and planned than most people realize.

          • blue579

            The deep state is a global entity, not national, and the term communism is only one facet or analogous aspect of Global Technocracy in that it is extremely controlling requiring continuous surveillance and monitoring, aims to eliminate all private property, and ration resources using algorithms designed by a highly centralized system of governance.

            You’ve never heard of Agenda 2030 and aren’t aware of its purpose creating this new system?

          • You’ve lost me with your definitions. You now say that Communism aims to eliminate all private property, but you previously described Russia, MIT, and Silicon Valley as Communist. That aim was not true of any of those entites, especially not MIT or Silicon Valley. So I’m not sure what you are saying.

          • blue579

            Parag Khanna is representing the Establishment’s ‘selling’ of this new system of Orwellian & authoritarian governance to manufacture consent (Chomsky, MIT, you should get this one too).

            You have no idea China and Russia are shifting into more aggressive forms of authoritarianism in lock step with an engineered resurgence of Maoism and Stalinism? It’s been covered by the mainstream press in some detailed articles in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times (UK), etc.

            Brzezinki was behind the creation of China as a Technocracy. Singapore is the idealized small scale example.

      • Grace by Faith on yt

        blue, I just posted a long reply which is also on my yt channel’s discussion page under “Tavistock Institute” …and etc., but it’s waiting on moderation/approval for some reason. In it, I connect MIT to them, my point being I’m never impressed with MIT degrees. Tavistock is key in mass manipulation through crisis creation, and diversity and political correctness training to deprogram us of our individuality and reprogram us into a hive-minded mentality, and they helped fund/found schools at MIT. I also connect them to certain people, which might freak some people out. If it doesn’t pass moderation, I’ll retype it tomorrow. 😉

        • blue579

          Thank you! I found your discussion page on yt. Great resource, btw, I bookmarked it. 😉

          Direct ties between Tavistock and MIT, perfect, thanks. I’m not at all surprised and somewhere in my brain’s dusty cobwebs of information collected long ago I recall there’s a lot available evidence on MIT’s participation in MKUltra and MKNAOMI. Also, in the book The CIA Doctors by Colin Ross, there’s a description the writings of MIT psychologist Marvin Minsky whose book Society of Mind deconstructed the mind as a parallel network – it’s a type of neuroscience compartmentalization that ties in perfectly to cybernetics, transhumanism, artificial intelligence, and mind control. Voila!

          I’ll watch for your comment to see if it goes through. I’ll be looking forward to it. Thanks again, you’re a gem, Grace by Faith.

    • Grace by Faith on yt

      The corporation masquerading as our federal government (which doesn’t exist anymore) performs crimes/attacks by proxy robots called Law Enforcement Officers who are immune, so what’s the big difference? Just following orders, ma’am…

      It is not the duty of the police to protect or serve us. Their job is to protect the corporation and arrest code breakers. Sapp v. Tallahassee, 348 So. 2nd. 363, Reiff v. City of Philadelphia, 477 F. Supp 1262, Lynch v. NC Dept. of Justice, 376 SE 2nd 247

      And besides, there have not been any judges in America since 1789, there have just been administrators (masquerading as judges). FRC v. GE 281 US 464, Keller v. PE 261 US 428 1 Stat. 138-178.

      Joint Resolution to Suspend the Gold Standard and Abrogate. The Gold Clause dissolved the Sovereign Authority of the United States and the official capacities of all United States Governmental Offices, Officers, and Departments, and is further evidence that the United States exists today in name only. United States Congressional Record, March 17, 1993, Vol 33.

  • NJguy – Proudly Deplorable

    That’s nice, but it would be great if we held our own govt accountable for spying on us.

  • Archie1954

    Talk about gross hypocrisy! The US government spies upon every man, woman and child in the World.

  • TheCogitator

    I cannot see how the powers-that-be will ever go for this. If we can sue foreign governments for spying on us, than foreigners would be able to sue the US government for spying on them.

  • Rob Gillespie

    I’m not surprised at all by this decision. I’m sure the court was ordered to make it so. If such a thing were to work in one direction it would be pretty clear it would have to work in the other. Can you imagine the US government and its thug spy agencies allowing themselves to be held responsible in ANY courts (not just, but certainly not foreign ones) for all the spying – and probably worse – they do on citizens of other countries… They see themselves as above any laws and they intend to remain that way!

  • paulbraveheart

    Who’s watching the watchers?

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