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The term originated in the blogosphere, combining the name of East Germany's former Ministry of State Security, commonly known as the "Stasi", with the concept of software versioning as used in the popular phrase "Web 2.0". The implication is that Stasi 2.0 is the modernized, updated and contemporary successor (or "version" in the software usage) of Stasi. The campaign focuses on the proposals of Wolfgang Schäuble, at that time Secretary of the Interior of Germany. Schäuble then proposed a preemptive security strategy, which critics contend bears similarities to the practices of the Stasi, but using current technology. His most disputed ideas involve his proposals for telecommunications data retention, his proposal to legalize military action of the Bundeswehr inside German borders, and his support for covert "online searches" of suspects' computer equipment. His latest proposal in particular has met stiff opposition from many prominent German netizens, as well as the Chaos Computer Club.
The phrase Stasi 2.0 has been used by protestors criticising Barack Obama by likening him to a Stasi figure in The Lives of Others during the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures about the involvement of the National Security Agency in monitoring German communications, including those of chancellor Angela Merkel.  
Some critics of the campaign dispute the contention that the presently proposed policies would or could lead to abuses similar to those perpetrated by the Stasi. They claim that the term is used out of proportion, and thus cheapens the historically known tangible suffering of Stasi victims. For this reason, several prominent civil rights groups have made it their official policy not to use the term, and disassociate with the campaign. Additionally, some critics claim that the ideologies targeted by Schäuble's initiatives might become more acceptable as part of the campaign, while legitimate state authority is vilified. They see any losses of privacy or freedom as acceptable collateral damage, or deny that there are or would be any such losses.
One Leipzig-based shirt printing service refused at first to print the trademark image of the campaign, claiming the campaign to be libelous, but later did print it.
In August 2013, German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the comparison between the National Security Administration and the Stasi, suggesting that the comparison trivialises what state security did to people in East Germany. 
- "European officials lash out at new NSA spying report". CBS News. June 30, 2013.
- "German chancellor Angela Merkel says US spying is an unacceptable breach of trust". ABC news. 25 October 2013.
- Pressemeldungen - Übersicht - T-Shirts bedrucken und gestalten : Spreadshirt
- Patrick Donahue (August 10, 2013). "Merkel Rejects NSA Comparison With Communist East German Stasi". Bloomberg.
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