MUNICH — The Chaos Computer Club, a leading hacker organization based in Germany, filed a criminal complaint against Chancellor Angela Merkel and members of her government on Monday, accusing them of violating the law by helping intelligence agencies in the United States and Britain to spy on German citizens.
The move comes days after Secretary of State John Kerry visited Berlin to try to smooth over relations that have been strained by revelations of the extent of the National Security Agency's surveillance activities in Germany. While filing the complaint with the Federal Prosecutor General is only a first step in the cumbersome German legal process and does not guarantee that an investigation will be opened, it demonstrates unwillingness by some here to drop the issue.
Along with the International League for Human Rights, based in New York, the 32-year-old hacker group said in the complaint that Ms. Merkel's government and German intelligence agencies violated the personal privacy of German citizens through "illegal and prohibited covert intelligence activities, along with aiding and abetting such activities" by tolerating and cooperating with the N.S.A. and the British eavesdropping agency, known as GCHQ.