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Ethiopian Government is being sued for spying on American citizen

Using the court-approved pseudonym – Mr. Kidane – an American citizen of Ethiopian ancestry is suing the Ethiopian government “for infecting his computer with secret spyware, wiretapping his private Skype calls, and monitoring his entire family’s every use of the computer for a period of months.”

Seriously, I didn’t know one could sue a (foreign) government for that!

Does that mean that every Joe and Jane Blow can now sue the American government for spying and violation of privacy? Or is it only a foreign government that can be sued by American citizens.

The saddest part about the law suit is that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing Mr Kidane. From the EFF blog post on the law suit:

We have clear evidence of a foreign government secretly infiltrating an American’s computer in America, listening to his calls, and obtaining access to a wide swath of his private life,” said EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo. “The current Ethiopian government has a well-documented history of human rights violations against anyone it sees as political opponents. Here, it wiretapped a United States citizen on United States soil in an apparent attempt to obtain information about members of the Ethiopian diaspora who have been critical of their former government. U.S. laws protect Americans from this type of unauthorized electronic spying, regardless of who is responsible.

Mr. Kidane has asked for a “jury trial as well as damages for violations of the U.S. Wiretap Act and state privacy law.” Right! The U.S. Wiretap Act and state privacy law only applies to “foreign government secretly infiltrating an American’s computer in America.”

You may read the complete report here.

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