Germans Vigorously Protest Massive British/ NSA Spying on Email, Telephone Calls

The German government has demanded answers from the British state with regard to revelations by Edward Snowden that the British spy agency GCHQ has a program called Tempora that allows it to capture massive amounts of telephone calls and email from transatlantic fiber optic cables that land first in the UK before they extend to continental Europe.

250 US National Security Agency analysts also are assigned full-time to Tempora and 850,000 NSA workers and contractors have access to the gargantuan Tempora database.

Emails between two people inside Germany might nevertheless bounce around the world before being delivered, so that GCHQ could well be scooping up in-country data that happens to come through those cables. They are certainly collecting huge amounts of communications by Americans, but the US media for the most part has buried this story. ( Wired is an exception.)

East Germans were subjected to intensive domestic surveillance by the STASI secret police in the Communist period 1945-1989, and before that the National Socialists were not exactly shy about invading people’s privacy.

Most Germans therefore have special sensitivities about domestic surveillance. Which is a way of saying that they have a lively Fascism Meter, which Americans and the British used to have but it seems to have atrophied.

Channel 4 News reports:

7 Responses

  1. Not atrophied – the “Americans” and British are the Fascists. ‘Mericans had a roaring love affaire with it eighty years ago, and though for appearances it has long been tucked away in the closet that ardor never cooled.

    We didn’t learn that lesson, and we are not only doomed to repeat.

  2. It seems we have just experienced all the debate we are going to have over NSA snooping here in the US. The story has successfully been shifted to the drama surrounding Snowden’s life and travels, with the accustomed ritual chest-beating about treachery and anti-Americanism. It is nice to see a populace in the world who are still aware of the dangers this kind of behavior represents.

  3. I never thought about our ability to collect that kind of data on other countries. Google certainly has access to a lot of.

  4. This does seem to have put the cat amongst the pigeons. I’m sure the Germans could have guessed this was going on but when the specifics of surveillance are made public it raises all sorts of concerns.

    I will be interested in knowing what the German response will be i.e what will they ask the NSA to do (or not do) in the future.

  5. This is the result of the American Security State discovering the advantages of digital snooping running into the humanity that has experienced the result of absolute power. The problem is that the American populace hasn’t yet experienced the consequences of such power, and thereby are pretty clueless. I expect the currency of the US to drop significantly unless it can directly address this dissonance instead of trying to sweep it under the rug.

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