The German spy software manufacturer Finfisher is against the coverage of Netzpolitik.org ago. The online media reported a lawsuit against the company that Netzpolitik.org has teamed with Reporters Without Borders, the Freedom Party (GFF) and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR). As a result, Finfisher has warned the online medium and demanded a cease and desist letter. The other organizations involved, however, were not warned. Netzpolitik.org has taken the article off the net, but did not sign the corresponding omission statement.
Finfisher accuses Netzpolitik.org that their reporting is not objective but highly prejudicial. "This is particularly because you have embedded the complaint filed in your article, so all allegations are unilaterally disseminated through the press and unedited to the reader, which of course makes the report prejudicial," argue the lawyers of Finfisher in the warning, the Golem.de is present.
Netzpolitik.org had not mentioned the names of the persons displayed in the article itself, but the complete criminal complaint including the names of the accused was attached to the article. The criminal complaint However, was also published by other co-plaintiffs in full text, but these have received no information from Golem.de no cease and desist.
"We practice open journalism, that is, we put the original documents online – of course after we have verified them, so that our readers can check us, but also so that other journalists can work with them," explained web policy.org founder Markus Beckedahl in an interview recently,
Cease and desist would prohibit further reporting
Since Netzpolitik.org itself filed a lawsuit against Finfisher, reads the corresponding article less like a neutral presentation, but more like a message in their own right. He explains in detail why the lawsuit was filed. Accordingly, the article repeats the central allegations of the application.
However, the lawyers of Finfisher vehemently contradict this. It concerns false facts allegations, which would first have to be clarified in court. In the enclosed declaration of discontinuance, the lawyers of Finfisher ask to refrain from any reporting of the case as well as to repeat several statements from the article. In the event of an infringement, a contractual penalty still to be determined is imminent and must be reviewed by the competent district court.
"We are not intimidated by the surveillance industry and will continue to try to disclose the machinations of these and other surveillance services, and if necessary, we will defend ourselves in court with our lawyers because an injunction would be a muzzle", writes Beckedahl, In the meantime, the lawyers of Finfisher threaten to file a lawsuit should the cease and desist letter not be signed.
"We stand by our joint complaint against Finfisher", said Christian Mihr, CEO of Reporters Without Borders. "Time and again, Netzpolitik.org has reported on exports of state trojans to regimes that spy on media and opposition figures, and critical reporting on companies overriding export bans needs to continue." The export of surveillance software to the Turkish government was particularly explosive in view of the continuing repression against journalists and opposition members.
In the letter from Finfisher, Netzpolitik.org is also accused that the persons concerned had not been given the opportunity to comment on suspicious reporting. However, Finfisher was certainly confronted with the information in the reporting on the criminal complaint, said Ulf Buermeyer, chairman of the GFF – just not separately from Netzpolitik.org. Golem.de also tried to get a statement from Finfisher by phone and e-mail, but the questions remained unanswered. This is not the first time that Finfisher has not responded to requests.
Disclosure: Golem.de editor Moritz Tremmel was an intern at Netzpolitik.org in 2012 and has published several articles on Netzpolitik.org.