The Ethiopian-born U.S. citizen using the pseudonym Mr. Kidane filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the Ethiopian government of infecting his computer with FinSpy malware

By Robert Abel (SC Magazine) |

A U.S. citizen is suing the Ethiopian government for planting spyware on his personal computer and for illegal wiretapping.

The Ethiopian-born U.S. citizen using the pseudonym Mr. Kidane filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the Ethiopian government of infecting his computer with FinSpy malware and for invading his privacy, according to court documents. Kidane is a critic of the Ethiopian government and a supporter of members of the Ethiopian democracy movement.

The case began in 2013 after an investigation conducted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab concluded that the spyware was part of a systemic campaign by the Ethiopian government to spy on perceived opponents.

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Lawyers argued Thursday before a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit over whether U.S. courts have jurisdiction to hear a case brought by an American citizen for wiretapping and invasion of his privacy that occurred in his Maryland home. The EFF believes this question is relevant because under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, foreign governments are only liable for torts they commit within the United States.

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