Central Office for Information Technology in the Security Sector
The Central Office for Information Technology in the Security Sector (German: Zentrale Stelle für Informationstechnik im Sicherheitsbereich, ZITiS) is a federal agency of the German government. Headquartered in Munich, it is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community. Its mission is to give computer hacking assistance to other government agencies.
|Zentrale Stelle für Informationstechnik im Sicherheitsbereich (ZITiS)|
|Formed||6 April 2017|
|Headquarters||Zamdorfer Straße 88, Munich, Bavaria|
|Employees||100 (April 2019)|
400 (planned 2022)
|Annual budget||€36,721,000 (2019)|
|Parent department||Federal Ministry of the Interior|
As such ZITiS is not an intelligence or law enforcement agency of its own, but rather provides services for the Federal Police (BPOL), Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). The agency also cooperates with universities and research institutes to develop new surveillance technology and strategies. ZITiS operations are organised in four departments: Telecommunication Surveillance, Digital Forensics, Cryptanalysis, and Big Data Analysis.
The agency was founded on 6 April 2017, and by 2022 is planned to employ 400 people. The decryption of encrypted messenger services such as WhatsApp was cited as one of its primary goals. The agency's president Winfried Karl in 2017 publicly called for the authority to strike back against the perpetrators of cyberattacks.
In June 2018 the team consisted of 60 members, growing to 100 by April 2019, although the budget intended 150 employees in 2018. Some employees were recruited from other government agencies, others previously worked in the private industry.
The announcement of ZITiS' creation led to significant criticism from opposition parties and internet privacy activists. Alliance 90/The Greens threatened a constitutional complaint against the agency. Thomas de Maizière stated in response that ZITiS activities would be compliant with the law.
- "Haushaltsgesetz 2019". Federal budget of 2019 (PDF) (in German). Bundestag. p. 711. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- "Cyber-Espionage Hits Berlin – The Breach from the East". Spiegel Online. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- Knight, Ben (14 September 2017). "Hacking for the government: Germany opens ZITiS cyber surveillance agency". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- Gierow, Hauke (20 January 2017). "Zitis soll von München aus Whatsapp knacken". golem.de (in German). Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- Krempl, Stefan (30 June 2018). "Zitis: Kernteam der staatlichen Hackertruppe steht" (in German). Heise online. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- "Organisational chart" (PDF). Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- "German cyber agency calls for authority to hack back: Spiegel". Reuters. 22 November 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- "ZITiS feiert 100. Mitarbeiter" (Press release) (in German). 2 April 2019. Archived from the original on 16 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- Biselli, Anna (8 December 2018). "Statt Mate: Hackerbehörde ZITiS findet nicht genug Personal und probierts mit 2.000 Koffein-Shots". netzpolitik.org (in German). Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- "Grüne wollen Zitis verhindern" (in German). RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland. 22 November 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- Reichart, Johannes (14 September 2017). "ZITiS - Deutschlands neues Ohr an der digitalen Masse" (in German). Bayerischer Rundfunk. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017.