Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #769 The Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook, Part 12: Blitzkrieg on American Internet and Electronics Business

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram con­tin­ues the analy­sis and cov­er­age of the intel­li­gence oper­a­tion being led by “Eddie the Friend­ly Spook” Snow­den.

A recent edi­to­r­i­al in The San Jose Mer­cury News (Tues. Sep­tem­ber 10, 2013, p. A9) opined: “Rev­e­la­tions that the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency has cracked the encryp­tion tech­nol­o­gy that was sup­posed to pro­tect Inter­net users’ pri­va­cy is a night­mare for Sil­i­con Val­ley. . .”

The con­cerns expressed by The Mer­cury News and echoed by Sil­i­con Val­ley CEO’s at a recent high tech con­fer­ence go to the thrust of the main part of what we feel is the pri­ma­ry goal of Snow­den’s mul­ti-lay­ered psy-op: to do to the Sil­i­con Val­ley and the U.S. elec­tron­ic busi­ness what the Ger­man and Japan­ese auto­mo­bile indus­try’s cap­ture of much of the U.S. mar­ket did to the city of Detroit.

In FTR #‘s 758 and 759, we not­ed that Snow­den and the forces around and behind him are the same ele­ments that were jeop­ar­diz­ing the U.S. and glob­al economies in the gov­ern­ment shut­down cri­sis last fall. In numer­ous posts and pro­grams, we have dis­cussed the fact that the GOP has been infil­trat­ed by the Under­ground Reich to such an extent that it is lit­tle more than a Nazi/fascist front at this point.

Note that the GOP is de-fund­ing sci­en­tif­ic and tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment to such an extent that it fun­da­men­tal­ly threat­ens the Amer­i­can high-tech econ­o­my, the Sil­i­con Val­ley in par­tic­u­lar. (See text excerpts below.) Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est in this regard is the fact that the lead­ing bud­get cut­ters are the Paulis­tin­ian “lib­er­tar­i­an” ele­ments of the GOP. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that this may be a delib­er­ate act on the part of an Under­ground Reich Fifth Col­umn is one to be seri­ous­ly con­sid­ered.

In this con­text, the GOP/German “op” might be seen as a pin­cers move­ment.

Of para­mount impor­tance in our analy­sis is Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s maneu­ver­ing in this con­text. She is delib­er­ate­ly delay­ing the imple­men­ta­tion of EU data pri­va­cy reg­u­lains in favor of push­ing for the inclu­sion of Ger­many’s intel­li­gence ser­vice into the “Five Eyes” club. In effect, it may well be that U.S. tech indus­try is being held hostage to BND’s inclu­sion in the Five Eyes club.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: 

  • Leak­ing jour­nal­ist Glenn Green­wald stat­ed that Snow­den’s goal in leak­ing this infor­ma­tion was to alert peo­ple that the soft­ware they were using was being accessed by NSA with­out their knowledge–a con­sid­er­a­tion that is almost cer­tain to dam­age U.S. inter­net com­pa­nies. (See text excerpts below.)
  • Fear around the world about the NSA spy­ing cov­er­age is believed to be dam­ag­ing U.S. inter­net com­pa­nies. (See text excerpts below.)
  • Ger­man and EU offi­cials have been explic­it in warn­ing about using U.S. cloud providers.
  • One Ger­man min­is­ter float­ed the idea of ban­ning U.S. tech cor­po­ra­tions in Europe.
  • Ber­tels­mann appears to be act­ing in accord with the pro­nounce­ments of Ger­man and EU offi­cials.
  • A recent sto­ry in the Ger­man peri­od­i­cal Die Zeit claimed that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment warned against using Win­dows 8 (and also Chrome­book, a Google prod­uct) because the TPM chip had been equipped with a “back door” to per­mit the NSA to clan­des­tine­ly access infor­ma­tion. Although the Ger­man gov­ern­ment denied that they had actu­al­ly said that, it appears that dam­age may have already been done, per­haps delib­er­ate­ly. (See text excerpts below.)
  • As it hap­pens, the lead­ing mak­er of TPM chips is a Ger­man firm, Infi­neon, sug­gest­ing the dis­tinct pos­si­bil­i­ty that BND may be doing what the Die Zeit arti­cle accus­es the NSA of doing. Note that BND has been doing exact­ly what the NSA has been doing for many, many years. (See text excerpts below.)
  • In an update (9/26/2013), we learn that Infi­neon is a spin­off of Siemens AG, one of the Ger­man core cor­po­ra­tions, a key ele­ment of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work and inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the BND! (See text excerpts below.)

1a. Begin­ning with review of mate­r­i­al cov­ered years ago on For The Record, the pro­gram notes that the infor­ma­tion about NSA and GCHQ hoover­ing up elec­tron­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tions is not new. (Mr. Emory has been dis­cussing this for years, ref­er­enc­ing the analy­sis from open sources.) A New York Times arti­cle from 9/6/2001 high­lights a Euro­pean Par­lia­ment report that was com­piled over the course of a year. The report notes, among oth­er things, that sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries were doing sim­i­lar things.

“World Brief­ing | Europe: Report On U.S. Spy Sys­tem” by Suzanne Daley; The New York Times; 9/6/2001.

[Notice when this was published–9/6/2001.–D.E.] . . . The Unit­ed States-led spy­ing sys­tem known as Ech­e­lon can mon­i­tor vir­tu­ally every com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the world — by e‑mail, phone or fax — that bounces off a satel­lite, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment was told. But in report­ing on a year­long study of the sys­tem that was prompt­ed by con­cern that Amer­i­can com­pa­nies were using data from the sys­tem to gain a com­pet­i­tive edge, Ger­hard Schmid, a Ger­man mem­ber of the Par­lia­ment, said that many Euro­pean coun­tries had sim­i­lar abil­i­ties . . .

1b. A reveal­ing arti­cle in Der Spiegel notes two VERY impor­tant things: the same Angela Merkel who is “shocked, shocked” at what the NSA is doing has not only put road­blocks in Euro­pean data pri­va­cy rules designed to guard against unwar­rant­ed gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance, but is active­ly seek­ing admit­tance to the “Five Eyes” club, which dates to World War II!

She’s not “shocked, shocked” at all! She wants access to the Five Eyes, which means–DUH–that she APPROVES of this very thing!

What a hyp­ocrite she is! And what a sick spec­ta­cle this whole bloody mess is, with a bunch of nitwits cat­er­waul­ing about “civ­il lib­er­ties,” “human rights,” “the con­sti­tu­tion,” and so forth.

“Appear­ances and Real­ity: Merkel Balks at EU Pri­vacy Push” by Gre­gor Peter SchmitzDer Spiegel10/28/2013.

Chan­cel­lor Merkel has put on a good show of being out­raged by Amer­i­can spy­ing. But, at the same time, she has imped­ed efforts to strength­en data secu­rity. Does she real­ly want more pri­vacy, or is she more inter­ested in being accept­ed into the exclu­sive group of info-shar­ing coun­tries known as the ‘Five Eyes’ club?

One par­tic­u­lar point of clar­i­fi­ca­tion was espe­cially impor­tant to Angela Merkel dur­ing the EU sum­mit in Brus­sels last week. When she com­plained about the NSA’s alleged tap­ping of her cell­phone, the Ger­man chan­cel­lor made clear that her con­cern was not for her­self, but for the “tele­phones of mil­lions of EU cit­i­zens,” whose pri­vacy she said was com­pro­mised by US spy­ing.

Yet at a work­ing din­ner with fel­low EU heads of state on Thurs­day, where the agen­da includ­ed a pro­posed law to bol­ster data pro­tec­tion, Merkel’s fight­ing spir­it on behalf of the EU’s cit­i­zens seemed to have dis­si­pat­ed.

In fact, inter­nal doc­u­ments show that Ger­many applied the brakes when it came to speedy pas­sage of such a reform. Although a num­ber of EU mem­ber states — includ­ing France, Italy and Poland — were push­ing for the cre­ation of a Europe-wide mod­ern data pro­tec­tion frame­work before Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions take place in May 2014, the issue end­ed up tabled until 2015.

Great Britain, itself sus­pected of spy­ing on its EU part­ners, and Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron, who has for­mer Google CEO Eric Schmidt as one of his advi­sors, put up con­sid­er­able resis­tance. He pushed instead for the final sum­mit state­ment to call sim­ply for “rapid” progress on a sol­id EU data-pro­tec­tion frame­work.

A Set­back for  ‘Europe ‘s Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence ’

Merkel also joined those apply­ing the brakes. Over the week­end, SPIEGEL ONLINE gained access to inter­nal Ger­man For­eign Min­istry doc­u­ments con­cern­ing the EU lead­ers’ final sum­mit state­ment. The “track changes” fea­ture reflects a cru­cial pro­posed change to item No. 8 under the sub­ject head­ing “Dig­i­tal Econ­omy” — the sug­ges­tion that the phrase “adop­tion next year” be replaced with “The nego­ti­a­tions have to be car­ried on inten­sive­ly.”

Ulti­mately, the offi­cial ver­sion of the final sum­mit state­ment sim­ply called for “rapid” progress on the issue — just as Great Britain was hop­ing for.

This amounts to a set­back for pro­po­nents of the pro­posed data-pro­tec­tion law, which EU Jus­tice Com­mis­sioner Viviane Red­ing has called “Europe’s dec­la­ra­tion of inde­pen­dence.”

The Euro­pean Par­lia­ment recent­ly began draft­ing stricter reg­u­la­tions in this area, includ­ing poten­tial fines run­ning into the bil­lions of euros for any Inter­net com­pany caught ille­gally pass­ing pri­vate data to US intel­li­gence agen­cies. Such pro­posed leg­is­la­tion has the sup­port even of some of Merkel’s fel­low con­ser­v­a­tives in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, includ­ing Man­fred Weber of the Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU), the Bavar­ian sis­ter par­ty to Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­tic Union (CDU), who says: “We need to final­ly sum­mon the polit­i­cal will for more data pro­tec­tion.”

Amer­i­can tech cor­po­ra­tions could hard­ly believe their luck at hav­ing Merkel’s sup­portNow they’re hop­ing for more lee­way to water down the data-pro­tec­tion law as soon as the furor over the lat­est spy­ing scan­dal has sub­sided. One high-rank­ing Amer­i­can tech-com­pa­ny exec­u­tive told the Finan­cial Times: “When we saw the sto­ry about Merkel’s phone being tapped … we thought we were going to lose.” But, he added: “It looks like we won.” [Yeah, the tech com­pa­nies are “shocked, shocked” too–D.E.]

Indeed, the EU lead­ers’ anger was already start­ing to dis­si­pate dur­ing their ses­sions in Brus­sels. Sum­mit par­tic­i­pants say lead­ers point­ed out that Europe is not exact­ly on the side of the angels when it comes to gov­ern­ment spy­ing. Luxembourg’s prime min­is­ter, Jean-Claude Junck­er, cau­tioned his fel­low lead­ers, ques­tion­ing whether they were cer­tain their own intel­li­gence agen­cies had nev­er vio­lated data pri­vacy them­selves.

Code of Con­duct for Intel­li­gence Agen­cies

The con­cerns of the tech indus­try, in par­tic­u­lar, received an atten­tive ear among Europe’s lead­ers. One sum­mit par­tic­i­pant relates that restruc­tur­ing data-pro­tec­tion laws was por­trayed as a “labo­ri­ous” task that would require more time to com­plete, and that Merkel did not push for speed on the mat­ter, to the sur­prise of some of her coun­ter­parts. [!–D.E.]

Accord­ing to sum­mit par­tic­i­pants, the Ger­man chan­cel­lor seemed far more inter­ested in the “Five Eyes” alliance among the US, the UK, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Cana­da. The top-lev­el allies with­in this exclu­sive group, which began in 1946 as a pact between Lon­don and Wash­ing­ton, have agreed not to spy on one anoth­er, but instead to share infor­ma­tion and resources. In Brus­sels, Cameron stressed to his fel­low lead­ers how many ter­ror­ist attacks had been pre­vented by suc­cess­ful intel­li­gence work.

Merkel, mean­while, stat­ed: “Unlike David, we are unfor­tu­nately not part of this group.” Accord­ing to the New York Times, Ger­many has sought mem­ber­ship in the “Five Eyes” alliance for years, but has been turned down due to oppo­si­tion, includ­ing from the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. But this could now change, the paper spec­u­lates.

1c. One of the major con­sid­er­a­tions with regard to “The Adven­tures of Eddie the Friend­ly Spook” con­cerns L’Af­faire Snow­den as an assault on U.S. inter­net busi­ness. We sug­gest the pos­si­bil­i­ty of U.S. cor­po­ra­tions being, in effect, held hostage.

In the con­text of the Spiegel sto­ry above, we note that Ger­many is far more inter­est­ed in being admit­ted to the “Five Eyes” club than assur­ing data pri­va­cy. Again, we sug­gest that U.S. inter­net firms are being held hostage in this affair.

Oba­ma appears to be over a bar­rel in this regard, hav­ing to chose between secu­ri­ty and the prof­itabil­i­ty and suc­cess of U.S. inter­net busi­ness abroad.

“Oba­ma Weigh­ing Secu­ri­ty and Pri­va­cy in Decid­ing on Spy Pro­gram Lim­its” by David E. Sanger; The New York Times; 12/20/2013; p. A18.

. . . . The pres­sure to rein them in is com­ing from indus­try, which fears that the N.S.A.’s abil­i­ties to crack data encryp­tion and bore into for­eign com­put­er sys­tems and the cloud will scare away busi­ness across Europe and Asia. Mr. Oba­ma must now make a choice: to keep build­ing the world’s most sophis­ti­cat­ed cyber­arse­nal, or pare back for fear of harm­ing Amer­i­can com­pet­i­tive­ness.

2. One of the state­ments made by Nazi fel­low-trav­el­er Cit­i­zen Green­wald is reveal­ing. He stat­ed that Snow­den’s goal was to alert peo­ple to the fact that U.S. inter­net soft­ware was com­pro­mised. This would nec­es­sar­i­ly hurt U.S. com­pet­i­tive­ness.

“About the Reuters Arti­cle” by Glenn Green­wald; The Guardian; 7/13/2013.

. . . .A: Snow­den has enough infor­ma­tion to cause more dam­age to the US gov­ern­ment in a minute alone than any­one else has ever had in the his­to­ry of the Unit­ed States. But that’s not his goal. [His] objec­tive is to expose soft­ware that peo­ple around the world use with­out know­ing what they are expos­ing them­selves with­out con­scious­ly agree­ing to sur­ren­der their rights to pri­va­cy. [He] has a huge num­ber of doc­u­ments that would be very harm­ful to the US gov­ern­ment if they were made pub­lic. . . .

Peter Thiel

3. Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg artic­u­lat­ed the con­cerns of the U.S. tech indus­try at a recent con­fer­ence. In FTR #718, we lookd a Face­book as a major intrud­er on peo­ple’s pri­va­cy, as well as its links to Under­ground Reich ele­ments.

“Zucker­berg Says U.S. ‘Blew it’ on NSA Spy­ing” by Bran­don Bai­ley; San Jose Mer­cury News; 9/11/2013.

Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg lashed out at the U.S. gov­ern­ment Wednes­day, say­ing that author­i­ties have hurt Sil­i­con Val­ley com­pa­nies by doing a poor job of explain­ing the online spy­ing efforts of U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies.

“Frankly I think the gov­ern­ment blew it,” Zucker­berg com­plained dur­ing an onstage inter­view at the tech indus­try con­fer­ence known as Dis­rupt, a week­long event where Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Maris­sa May­er and oth­er promi­nent tech exec­u­tives also spoke out pub­licly and expressed frus­tra­tion in per­son, for the first time, since a series of news leaks revealed the gov­ern­men­t’s con­tro­ver­sial sur­veil­lance pro­grams.

“It’s our gov­ern­men­t’s job to pro­tect all of us and also pro­tect our free­doms and pro­tect the econ­o­my, and com­pa­nies,” Zucker­berg told inter­view­er Michael Arring­ton, “and I think they did a bad job of bal­anc­ing those things.”

He went on to say: “They blew it on com­mu­ni­cat­ing the bal­ance of what they were going for.”

Face­book and oth­er Inter­net com­pa­nies have been under intense pres­sure in recent months after a series of news reports that sug­gest U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies have gained access to the online activ­i­ties and com­mu­ni­ca­tions involv­ing users of Face­book and oth­er pop­u­lar ser­vices. Some of those reports have sug­gest­ed that unnamed com­pa­nies have coop­er­at­ed with the U.S. efforts, although the details are unclear.

Ana­lysts say those reports could hurt the com­pa­nies finan­cial­ly, espe­cial­ly over­seas, if if con­sumers and busi­ness cus­tomers believe their sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion isn’t safe from gov­ern­ment pry­ing. . . . .

4a. A recent Guardian/Observer arti­cle under­scored the fears of U.S. busi­ness.

“After Edward Snowden’s Rev­e­la­tions, Why Trust US Cloud Providers?: The NSA’s Activ­i­ties Are a Mas­sive Blow for US Com­puter Busi­ness­es” by John Naughton [The Observ­er]; The Guardian; 9/14/2013.

“It’s an ill bird,” runs the adage, “that fouls its own nest.” Cue the US Nation­al Secu­rity Agency (NSA), which, we now know, has been busi­ly doing this for quite a while. As the Edward Snow­den rev­e­la­tions tum­bled out, the scale of the foul­ing slow­ly began to dawn on us.

Out­side of the Unit­ed States, for exam­ple, peo­ple sud­denly began to have doubts about the wis­dom of entrust­ing their con­fi­den­tial data to cloud ser­vices oper­ated by Amer­i­can com­pa­nies on Amer­i­can soil. As Neel­ie Kroes, Euro­pean Com­mis­sion vice pres­i­dent respon­si­ble for dig­i­tal affairs, put it in a speech on 4 July: “If busi­nesses or gov­ern­ments think they might be spied on, they will have less rea­son to trust the cloud and it will be cloud providers who ulti­mately miss out. Why would you pay some­one else to hold your com­mer­cial or oth­er secrets, if you sus­pect or know they are being shared against your wish­es? Front or back door – it doesn’t mat­ter – any smart per­son doesn’t want the infor­ma­tion shared at all. Cus­tomers will act ratio­nally and providers will miss out on a great oppor­tu­nity.“

Which providers? Why, the big US inter­net com­pa­nies that have hith­erto dom­i­nated the mar­ket for cloud ser­vices – a mar­ket set to dou­ble in size to $200bn (£126bn) over the next three years. So the first own goal scored by the NSA was to under­mine an indus­try that many peo­ple had regard­ed as the next big thing in cor­po­rate com­put­ing.

...

4b. Some observers feel the Inter­net may be Balka­nized.

“Why NSA Sur­veil­lance Will Be More Dam­ag­ing Than You Think” by James Fal­lows; The Atlantic; 7/30/2013.

This col­umn over the week­end, by the British aca­d­e­mic John Naughton in the Guardian, takes us one more step in assess­ing the dam­age to Amer­i­can inter­ests in the broad­est sense– com­mer­cial, strate­gic, ide­o­log­i­cal — from the panop­ti­con approach to “secu­rity” brought to us by NSA-style mon­i­tor­ing pro­grams.

Naughton’s essay doesn’t tech­ni­cally tell us any­thing new. For instance, see ear­lier reports like this, this, and this. But it does sharp­en the focus in a use­ful way. Who­ever wrote the head­line and espe­cially the sub­head did a great job of cap­tur­ing the gist:

Edward Snowden’s not the sto­ry. The fate of the inter­net is.

The press has lost the plot over the Snow­den rev­e­la­tions. The fact is that the net is fin­ished as a glob­al net­work and that US firms’ cloud ser­vices can­not be trust­ed.

In short: because of what the U.S. gov­ern­ment assumed it could do with infor­ma­tion it had the tech­no­log­i­cal abil­ity to inter­cept, Amer­i­can com­pa­nies and Amer­i­can inter­ests are sure to suf­fer in their efforts to shape and ben­e­fit from the Internet’s con­tin­ued growth.

* Amer­i­can com­pa­nies, because no for­eign­ers will believe these firms can guar­an­tee secu­rity from U.S. gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance;
* Amer­i­can inter­ests, because the Unit­ed States has grave­ly com­pro­mised its plau­si­bil­ity as world-wide admin­is­tra­tor of the Internet’s stan­dards and advo­cate for its open, above-pol­i­tics goals.

Why were U.S. author­i­ties in a posi­tion to get at so much of the world’s dig­i­tal data in the first place? Because so many of the world’s cus­tomers have trust­ed* U.S.-based firms like Google, Yahoo, Apple, Ama­zon, Face­book, etc with their data; and because so many of the world’s nations have tol­er­ated an info-infra­struc­ture in which an out­sized share of data flows at some point through U.S. sys­tems. Those are the con­di­tions of trust and tol­er­a­tion that like­ly will change.

The prob­lem for the com­pa­nies, it’s worth empha­siz­ing, is not that they were so undu­ly eager to coop­er­ate with U.S. gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance. Many seem to have done what they could to resist. The prob­lem is what the U.S. gov­ern­ment — first under Bush and Cheney, now under Oba­ma and Biden — asked them to do. [This, by the way is wrong. It pre­dates both Bush/Cheney and Oba­ma Biden. I dis­cussed this on air, from open sources, well before either team assumed pow­er. This high­lights my state­ment that; “Jour­nal­ists are like a flock of birds. When one lands, they all land. When one flies away, they all fly away.”–D.E.] As long as they oper­ate in U.S. ter­ri­tory and under U.S. laws, com­pa­nies like Google or Face­book had no choice but to com­ply. But peo­ple around the world who have a choice about where to store their data, may under­stand­ably choose to avoid leav­ing it with com­pa­nies sub­ject to the way Amer­ica now defines its secu­rity inter­ests.

Here’s Naughton’s ver­sion of the impli­ca­tions:

The first is that the days of the inter­net as a tru­ly glob­al net­work are num­bered. It was always a pos­si­bil­ity that the sys­tem would even­tu­ally be Balka­nised, ie divid­ed into a num­ber of geo­graph­i­cal or juris­dic­tion-deter­mined sub­nets as soci­eties such as Chi­na, Rus­sia, Iran and oth­er Islam­ic states decid­ed that they need­ed to con­trol how their cit­i­zens com­mu­ni­cated. Now, Balka­ni­sa­tion is a cer­tain­ty....

5. A Forbes ana­lyst high­light­ed the dam­age that may be done to U.S. tech indus­try.

“How The Snow­den Leaks And NSA Sur­veil­lance Are Bad For Busi­ness” by Dave Thi­er; Forbes; 7/9/2013.

Red­dit gen­er­al man­ag­er Erik Mar­tin noticed some­thing strange when he was at a con­fer­ence in Latvia last month. There was a con­test held, with a prize of one year’s free web-host­ing for a small busi­ness — a decent val­ue, a fair­ly nor­mal prize. But when it came time to award it, nobody in the audi­ence want­ed it. It was from a U.S.-based com­pa­ny, and this was just days after Edward Snowden’s land­mark leaks about the NSA’s PRISM pro­gram hit the press. With that hang­ing over them, peo­ple at the con­fer­ence would have pre­ferred to go with a dif­fer­ent coun­try.

There’s a gen­er­al sense of unease about the U.S. government’s rela­tion­ship to the inter­net right now, and it’s start­ing to affect how inter­na­tion­al con­sumers choose their web ser­vices. I talked with Chris­t­ian Daw­son, head of host­ing com­pa­ny Servint and co-founder of the Inter­net Infra­struc­ture Coali­tion, a group found­ed to inform the pub­lic and law­mak­ers about, as he puts it, how the inter­net works. He says that while it’s hard to put togeth­er any true sta­tis­tics at this point, he’s heard a lot of anec­do­tal data about U.S.-based host­ing and oth­er web ser­vice com­pa­nies los­ing busi­ness to over­seas com­peti­tors since the Snow­den leaks.

“We have a great fear that we are going to see a big exo­dus for US-based busi­ness­es over the infor­ma­tion that’s been leaked,in part because there’s this tremen­dous lack of trans­paren­cy, and lack of trans­paren­cy is the absolute worst thing for these sit­u­a­tions,” he says. “We’re com­pet­ing on a glob­al scale, and if peo­ple don’t have a rea­son to trust the host they’re using, they can go else­where in just a cou­ple of clicks.”

Daw­son stress­es that the prob­lem isn’t just with the pro­gram itself. He has lit­tle com­ment on what the gov­ern­ment should or should not be doing to pro­tect the coun­try from ter­ror­ism. His prob­lem is with the lack of open dis­cus­sion sur­round­ing these efforts. The U.S. may not have the most restric­tive or the most repres­sive poli­cies sur­round­ing inter­net sur­veil­lance, but U.S. news is big news all over the world. Accord­ing to Daw­son, fear of the Patri­ot Act had already been dog­ging U.S. host­ing com­pa­nies for years, and the Snow­den leaks just added fuel to the fire. In a glob­al mar­ket as flu­id as some­thing like web host­ing, a lot of con­sumers would just as soon pre­fer to take their busi­ness else­where.

“The lack of clear, intel­li­gent lan­guage has put us at a tremen­dous mar­ket­ing dis­ad­van­tage,” he says. “These days, we’re find­ing that sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of our clien­tele val­ues pri­va­cy. It is not sim­ply the cus­tomer who has something­ to hide.” . . .

6a. The Ger­man gov­ern­ment has been stok­ing the fires of glob­al out­rage.

Shun U.S. Web Ser­vices, Top Ger­man Min­is­ter Urges Pri­va­cy-Mind­ed Cit­i­zens” by David Mey­er; Gigaom; 7/3/2013.

Germany’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter has sug­gest­ed that peo­ple should stop using Google and Face­book if they fear inter­cep­tion by U.S. spies.

Accord­ing to the AP, Hans-Peter Friedrich said on Wednes­day that “who­ev­er fears their com­mu­ni­ca­tion is being inter­cept­ed in any way should use ser­vices that don’t go through Amer­i­can servers.” His call comes in the wake of Edward Snowden’s PRISM rev­e­la­tions, which showed how the NSA can eas­i­ly access even sup­pos­ed­ly pri­vate data on U.S. cloud ser­vices, at mass scale.

Friedrich is one of the first senior Euro­pean politi­cians to explic­it­ly urge pri­va­cy-mind­ed cit­i­zens to avoid using U.S. ser­vices, although EU Dig­i­tal Agen­da Com­mis­sion­er Neel­ie Kroes said a cou­ple of weeks ago that “the PRISM debate will def­i­nite­ly increase calls for a Euro­pean cloud, with a range of pos­si­ble con­se­quences for Amer­i­can com­pa­nies.”

How­ev­er, shun­ning Google and Face­book may not be a cure-all for keep­ing pri­vate com­mu­ni­ca­tions pri­vate. Snow­den also exposed a British pro­gram called Tem­po­ra, which alleged­ly involves the tap­ping of the fiber-optic cables that con­sti­tute the back­bone of the inter­net – if that is the case, then all com­mu­ni­ca­tions may be inter­cept­ed, regard­less of where the ser­vice provider is locat­ed.

Ger­man data pro­tec­tion offi­cials have urged the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to “do every­thing to pro­tect the peo­ple in Ger­many against access to their data by third par­ties,” and have also called for expla­na­tions around how much the Ger­man gov­ern­ment knew about PRISM and Tem­po­ra before the scan­dal broke. . . .

6b. More about the Ger­man gov­ern­men­t’s pro­pa­gan­da offen­sive:

NSA Blow­back: Ger­man Min­is­ter Floats US Com­pa­ny Ban; Der Spiegel; 8/5/2013.

With the NSA spy­ing scan­dal con­tin­u­ing to make head­lines in Europe, the Ger­man Jus­tice Min­is­ter, Sabine Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er, has raised the pos­si­bil­i­ty of new, tan­gi­ble mea­sures to pun­ish cor­po­ra­tions that par­tic­i­pate in Amer­i­can spy­ing activ­i­ties. In an inter­view with Die Welt, the lib­er­al Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er called for the cre­ation of EU-wide rules to reg­u­late the pro­tec­tion of infor­ma­tion, and said that, once those rules are in place, “Unit­ed States com­pa­nies that don’t abide by these stan­dards should be denied doing busi­ness in the Euro­pean mar­ket.”

Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er said that a pack­age of EU mea­sures is required in order to fight “the wide­spread spy­ing of for­eign spy ser­vices” and that Ger­man data pro­tec­tion laws should be a yard­stick for the rest of the Euro­pean Union — Ger­man pri­va­cy laws are con­sid­er­ably tighter than those of the Unit­ed States and much of Europe.

Ger­man Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Hans-Peter Friedrich also raised cor­po­rate account­abil­i­ty in July, when he sug­gest­ed requir­ing Euro­pean firms to report any data they hand over to for­eign coun­tries. Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er, who is run­ning for reelec­tion in Sep­tem­ber as part of the pro-busi­ness Free Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, did not fur­ther spec­i­fy which kinds of penal­ties she would like Amer­i­can com­pa­nies to face, though it seems unlike­ly that Europe would com­plete­ly ban com­pa­nies like Google, which dom­i­nate the online search mar­ket, or Face­book from doing busi­ness. Both of those com­pa­nies were impli­cat­ed in the doc­u­ments leaked by for­mer intel­li­gence work­er Edward Snow­den.

It is the lat­est devel­op­ment in a Ger­man elec­tion sea­son that has come to be dom­i­nat­ed by online pri­va­cy issues. Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel has faced wide­spread crit­i­cism from the oppo­si­tion for her han­dling of the NSA scan­dal and Peer Stein­brück, the Chan­cel­lor can­di­date of the oppo­si­tion SPD par­ty, recent­ly told Ger­man tele­vi­sion chan­nel ZDF that Merkel should demand writ­ten assur­ances from the Amer­i­cans they will respect Ger­man laws and inter­ests and not engage in indus­tri­al espi­onage . . . .

6c. Ger­many’s largest media firm is going with the rhetor­i­cal direc­tives from Ger­man gov­ern­ment offi­cials. Ber­tels­mann was the pub­lish­er for the SS in World War II and appears to be a fun­da­men­tal part of the Under­ground Reich.

“Analy­sis: Despite Fears, NSA Rev­e­la­tions Help­ing U.S. Tech Indus­try” by Joseph Menn; Reuters; 9/15/2013.

. . . . Politi­cians in Europe and Brazil have cit­ed the Snow­den doc­u­ments in push­ing for new pri­vacy laws and stan­dards for cloud con­tracts and in urg­ing local com­pa­nies to steer clear of U.S. ven­dors.

“If Euro­pean cloud cus­tomers can­not trust the U.S. gov­ern­ment, then maybe they won’t trust U.S. cloud providers either,” Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Vice Pres­i­dent Neel­ie Kroes told The Guardian. “If I am right, there are multi­bil­lion-euro con­se­quences for Amer­i­can com­pa­nies.”

There have indeed been some con­tract can­cel­la­tions.

Charles Mount, chief exec­u­tive of busi­ness file-shar­ing ser­vice One­Hub, told Reuters that an auto­mated sys­tem that asks cus­tomers why they have dropped the One­Hub ser­vice elicit­ed this reply from an unspec­i­fied Ber­tels­mann unit in Aus­tria:

“Head­quar­ters is ban­ning stor­age of com­pany data in the U.S. or with U.S. com­pa­nies alto­gether because of the NSA data-min­ing and indus­trial espi­onage. You should watch out for that. Maybe you should think about host­ing in Ice­land, Swe­den or some oth­er place known for com­ply­ing with their own pri­vacy leg­is­la­tion.”

Ber­tels­mann spokesman Chris­t­ian Stein­hof said the com­pany couldn’t con­firm that the exchange had occurred and there­fore wouldn’t com­ment. . . .

7. A recent sto­ry in the Ger­man peri­od­i­cal Die Zeit claimed that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment warned against using Win­dows 8 (and also Chrome­book, a Google prod­uct) because the TPM chip had been equipped with a “back door” to per­mit the NSA to clan­des­tinely access infor­ma­tion. Although the Ger­man gov­ern­ment denied that they had actu­ally said that, it appears that dam­age may have already been done, per­haps delib­er­ately.

“Microsoft Seeks Calm On Ger­man Secu­rity Pan­ic Over Win­dows 8” by Tom Brew­ster; Tech­week Europe; 8/23/2013.

Claims that there is a back­door in Win­dows 8 giv­ing access to all ver­sions of the oper­at­ing sys­tem to US intel­li­gence have been gen­tly rebuffed by Microsoft.

A reporter in Zeit had sug­gested the back­door stemmed from the Trust­ed Plat­form Mod­ule, or TPM chip, which seeks to improve secu­rity by pow­er­ing the Secure Boot process that checks for and ignores mali­cious low-lev­el code when a machine starts up. It does this through cryp­to­graphic keys that ensure code can­not be tam­pered with on load­ing and that the code is legit­i­mate.

The Zeit writer had sug­gested the TPM could give the man­u­fac­turer of a device con­trol over it.

He said that in light of the leaks from Edward Snow­den, it would not be a sur­prise if TPM 2.0, the ver­sion used by Win­dows 8, was actu­ally a back­door the Nation­al Secu­rity Agency (NSA) could eas­ily exploit. As the chips pow­er­ing TPM are man­u­fac­tured in Chi­na, the Chi­nese could eas­ily access Win­dows 8 machines too, the report alleged.

The reporter attained doc­u­ments from the Ger­man gov­ern­ment that led him to reach his sup­po­si­tion. But the Ger­man gov­ern­ment has not said there is a back­door in the OS.

The Office for Infor­ma­tion Secu­rity (BSI) lat­er clar­i­fied the government’s posi­tion, and did say the use of TPM 2.0 and Win­dows 8 (TPM is used in oth­er non-Win­dows machines, includ­ing Chrome­books, mak­ing the claims even more ques­tion­able) meant the user had to deal with “a loss of con­trol over the oper­at­ing sys­tem and the hard­ware used”. This could lead to greater risk for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture, it said.

But the body said it had not warned the gen­eral pub­lic nor gov­ern­ment bod­ies against using Win­dows 8.

It said “the new­ly estab­lished mech­a­nisms can also be used for sab­o­tage by third par­ties”, but appeared only to be talk­ing gen­er­ally about vul­ner­a­bil­ity exploita­tion. There was no sug­ges­tion of a pur­pose­ful back­door, as Zeit had hypoth­e­sised, even if the BIS does have prob­lems with TPM.

Microsoft has respond­ed to the ker­fuf­fle first by deny­ing it has ever pro­vided such access to users’ data and by talk­ing up the secu­rity ben­e­fits of TPM 2.0. It sug­gested gov­ern­ment depart­ments would be wise to use the secu­rity pro­tec­tions it pro­vides by default. But for those gov­ern­ments who want to gain back con­trol of their machines, they can go with OEMs who make Win­dows PCs with­out TPM. . . .

8. More about the TPM con­tro­ver­sy.

Can Hewlett-Packard Cap­i­tal­ize on Microsoft­’s Mis­steps? by Joshua Bondy; The Mot­ley Fool; 8/28/2013.

With major indus­tri­al giants like Siemens, Ger­many is no small fry. As of 2012, it was the fourth-largest econ­o­my in the world. The Ger­man gov­ern­men­t’s recent announce­ment [that Win­dows 8 is unsafe due a back­door called the Trust­ed Plat­form Mod­ule], is a dan­ger­ous omen for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) .

AN ALTERNATIVE EXISTS

The growth of open-source com­put­ing is caus­ing major headaches for Microsoft, and this sit­u­a­tion is no dif­fer­ent. Lin­ux is open source, and gen­er­al­ly has few­er secu­ri­ty vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties than Win­dows. Gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rate IT depart­ments are start­ing to real­ize that they can make their oper­a­tions more secure and cut costs by switch­ing from Win­dows to Lin­ux. Using open-source alter­na­tives to Microsoft Office is yet anoth­er way to low­er costs. The City of Munich recent­ly moved 14,000 desk­top PCs to Lin­ux and plans to save $13 mil­lion by using Libre­Of­fice.

MICROSOFT’S FUTURE

Euro­pean Union aus­ter­i­ty is mak­ing gov­ern­ments look for cost sav­ings wher­ev­er pos­si­ble. Microsoft is already feel­ing the pain in its bot­tom line. In 2013, oper­at­ing income for the Win­dows divi­sion fell to $9.5 bil­lion from $12.3 bil­lion in 2011, and falling PC sales paint a grim future. . . .

9. Note that the Die Zeit sto­ry is dis­in­for­ma­tion! Note also that the lead­ing mak­er of TPM chips is Infi­neon, a spin-off of Siemens.

“Don’t Let Para­noia over the NSA and TPM Weak­en Your Secu­ri­ty” by Ed Bott; ZDNet; 8/23/2013.

The unin­tended by-prod­uct of Edward Snowden’s NSA doc­u­ment dump is a bull mar­ket in para­noid con­spir­acy the­o­ries.

The lat­est exam­ple is the breath­less report out of Ger­many that Microsoft and the NSA have con­spired to give Amer­i­can spies access to every copy of Win­dows 8, enforced by a mys­te­ri­ous chip called the Trust­ed Plat­form Mod­ule, or TPM. “It’s a back­door!” scream the con­spir­acy the­o­rists.

Appar­ently, Microsoft is so pow­er­ful that it is able to influ­ence even its most bit­ter ene­mies.

. . . .The point is, a TPM is a plat­form-neu­tral device. It pro­vides a secure way to encrypt data so that it can’t be accessed by any­one except you, and it pro­tects your device from being tam­pered with. Both of those fea­tures are high­ly desir­able these days.

But who knows what’s going on in that chip? I mean, they say it’s just a secure place to store encrypt­ed keys, but who knows what else it can do? Obvi­ously the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment or maybe the Chi­nese have intim­i­dated the chip’s man­u­fac­turer, right?

Uh, maybe not. The most pop­u­lar mak­er of TPM tech­nol­ogy is Infi­neon Tech­nolo­gies AG , which is based in … Neu­biberg, Ger­many. Per­haps those intre­pid Ger­man jour­nal­ists could, you know, hop on a train and head down to Infi­neon to see for them­selves.

10. The cor­po­rate her­itage of Infi­neon. Note that Siemens serves as some­thing of a quar­ter­mas­ter for BND, Ger­man intel­li­gence.

“Infi­neon Tech­nolo­gies’; Wikipedia.

Infi­neon Tech­nolo­gies AG is a Ger­man semi­con­duc­tor man­u­fac­tur­er found­ed on 1 April 1999, when the semi­con­duc­tor oper­a­tions of the par­ent com­pa­ny Siemens AG were spun off to form a sep­a­rate legal enti­ty. As of 30 Sep­tem­ber 2010, Infi­neon has 25,149 employ­ees world­wide. In fis­cal year 2010, the com­pa­ny achieved sales of €3.295 bil­lion. . . .

11. In FTR #‘s 758 and 759, we not­ed that Snow­den and the forces around and behind him are the same ele­ments that were jeop­ar­diz­ing the U.S. and glob­al economies in the gov­ern­ment shut­down cri­sis last fall. In numer­ous posts and pro­grams, we have dis­cussed the fact that the GOP has been infil­trat­ed by the Under­ground Reich to such an extent that it is lit­tle more than a Nazi/fascist front at this point.

Note that the GOP is de-fund­ing sci­en­tif­ic and tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment to such an extent that it fun­da­men­tal­ly threat­ens the Amer­i­can high-tech econ­o­my, the Sil­i­con Val­ley in par­tic­u­lar. Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est in this regard is the fact that the lead­ing bud­get cut­ters are the Paulis­tin­ian “lib­er­tar­i­an” ele­ments of the GOP. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that this may be a delib­er­ate act on the part of an Under­ground Reich Fifth Col­umn is one to be seri­ous­ly con­sid­ered.

In this con­text, the GOP/German “op” might be seen as a pin­cers move­ment.

“The GOP Plan to Crush Sil­i­con Val­ley: What Will Become of Steve Jobs’s Angel?” by John B. Jud­is; The New Repub­lic; 8/20/2013.

When Con­gress returns from its sum­mer recess in ear­ly Sep­tem­ber, it will have exact­ly nine leg­isla­tive days to agree on a bud­get or the gov­ern­ment will shut down. House Repub­li­cans are seek­ing far greater cuts in non-defense spend­ing than Sen­ate Democ­rats, and some mem­bers of the GOP are threat­en­ing to hold up any bud­get agree­ment until the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion aban­dons the Afford­able Care Act. It’s going to be a slog, with all sorts of unseem­ly com­pro­mises. But let me sug­gest an area where Democ­rats should allow exact­ly zero more dol­lars to be excised from the fed­eral bud­get: gov­ern­ment research for sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy. We’ve already seen a 13 per­cent drop in this area over the last two years, and it’s hard to over­state just how dam­ag­ing to the country’s future fur­ther reduc­tions would be.

Many peo­ple still cling to the idea that gov­ern­ment is, with­out excep­tion, a drag upon the pri­vate econ­omy. Con­ser­v­a­tives “know that when it comes to eco­nomic progress,” Arthur Brooks, the pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Enter­prise Insti­tute, wrote last year in Nation­al Review, “the best gov­ern­ment phi­los­o­phy is one that starts every day with the ques­tion, ‘What can we do today to get out of Amer­i­cans’ way?’ ” They imag­ine the Unit­ed States as a land of plucky inven­tor-entre­pre­neurs (“We built it!” they cry) who work out of garages and depend sole­ly on their wits. The prob­lem is that this vision of Amer­i­can inven­tive­ness is pure myth.

Steve Jobs, who has near­ly been beat­i­fied in his role as inde­pen­dent busi­ness­man, excelled at design­ing prod­ucts based on gov­ern­ment-fund­ed inven­tions. Some of Apple’s most vaunt­ed achievements—the mouse, a graph­i­cal user inter­face, the touch-screen, even Siri—were all devel­oped in part with fed­eral finances. Or take Google. Its search engine came out of a $4.5 mil­lion dig­i­tal-libraries research grant from the Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion (NSF). You can also look at the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try. Accord­ing to a Con­gres­sional Bud­get Office study, 16 of the 21 “most influ­en­tial drugs” intro­duced between 1965 and 1992 depend­ed on fed­er­ally fund­ed research.

The list goes on. Fed­eral mon­ey helped sup­port the inven­tion of lasers, tran­sis­tors, semi­con­duc­tors, microwave ovens, com­mu­ni­ca­tion satel­lites, cel­lu­lar tech­nol­ogy, and the Inter­net. Now, the feds are prime back­ers of the Human Genome Project (which could trans­form med­i­cine) and nan­otech­nol­ogy (which could trans­form man­u­fac­tur­ing). Sub­tract these kinds of inno­va­tions from America’s future, and you have an econ­omy depen­dent on tourism, the tot­ter­ing super­struc­ture of big finance, and the export of raw mate­ri­als and farm prod­ucts. More to the point, you have a weak­er country—not just in com­par­i­son with its com­peti­tors, but also in its abil­ity to pro­vide its cit­i­zens with rich­er, longer, more imag­i­na­tive lives. . . .

12. In a 1950 cir­cu­lar let­ter dis­trib­uted by the Nazi gov­ern­ment in exile in Madrid, a U.S. eco­nom­ic fail­ure was fore­cast.

Ger­many Plots with the Krem­lin by T.H. Tetens; Hen­ry Schu­man [HC]; 1953; p. 231.

. . . .Eco­nom­ic dif­fi­cul­ties will one day plunge the Unit­ed States down from its present dizzy heights. Such a cat­a­stro­phe can be brought about through crafty manip­u­la­tions and through arti­fi­cial­ly engen­dered crises. Such maneu­vers are rou­tine mea­sures which have already been employed in inter­na­tion­al pow­er strug­gle and will be used again and again as long as eco­nom­ic rivals fight for pow­er posi­tions and mar­kets in the world.

It is quite con­ceiv­able that Amer­i­ca, weak­ened by a depres­sion, will one day seek sup­port from a res­ur­rect­ed Ger­many. Such a prospect would open tremen­dous pos­si­bil­i­ties for the future pow­er posi­tion of a bloc intro­duc­ing a new order in the world. . . . .

Discussion

10 comments for “FTR #769 The Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook, Part 12: Blitzkrieg on American Internet and Electronics Business”

  1. While it does­n’t look Ger­many will get the cov­et­ed “No-Spy Agree­ment”, there still might be an inves­ti­ga­tion. Accord­ing to Ger­many’s top pros­e­cu­tor, there’s already enough evi­dence to open an inves­ti­ga­tion into Merkel’s phone-hack:

    Der Spiegel
    Prob­ing Amer­i­ca: Top Ger­man Pros­e­cu­tor Con­sid­ers NSA Inves­ti­ga­tion

    REPORTED BY NIKOLAUS BLOME, HUBERT GUDE, HORAND KNAUP, RALF NEUKIRCH, LAURA POITRAS, MARCEL ROSENBACH, JÖRG SCHINDLER, FIDELIUS SCHMID AND HOLGER STARK
    Jan­u­ary 20, 2014 – 05:49 PM

    Ger­many and the US appear to be edg­ing clos­er to polit­i­cal con­fronta­tion. The Fed­er­al Pros­e­cu­tor says there is suf­fi­cient evi­dence to open a polit­i­cal­ly explo­sive inves­ti­ga­tion into NSA spy­ing on Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

    Last Tues­day, on the side­lines of an Social Demo­c­rat par­ty cau­cus in Berlin, Ger­man Jus­tice Min­is­ter Heiko Maas ran into For­eign Min­is­ter Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier. Maas pulled his fel­low SPD mem­ber aside and warned him about what could become a dif­fi­cult mat­ter. “Some­thing may be com­ing our way,” Maas whis­pered, and not­ed that the for­eign min­is­ter could be affect­ed as well. Ger­many’s fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor, Maas inti­mat­ed, is cur­rent­ly con­sid­er­ing open­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion into the scan­dal sur­round­ing the sur­veil­lance of Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone by US intel­li­gence. It’s a step that would undoubt­ed­ly be con­sid­ered an affront by the Amer­i­cans.

    Stein­meier lis­tened atten­tive­ly and nod­ded sev­er­al times, but he did­n’t say much. At the start of his sec­ond post­ing as for­eign min­is­ter (he pre­vi­ous­ly served for four years from 2005–2009), Stein­meier is fac­ing the extreme­ly tricky prob­lem of new dis­cord in Ger­man-Amer­i­can rela­tions.

    The cur­rent dif­fi­cul­ties got their start in Octo­ber, when SPIEGEL report­ed that US intel­li­gence ser­vices were inter­est­ed in Merkel’s mobile phone. When the mag­a­zine pub­lished its report, the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agen­cy’s curios­i­ty sud­den­ly became an open act of provo­ca­tion.

    Merkel Fights Back

    In short, US Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma allowed Angela Merkel, his “friend,” to be eaves­dropped upon. It did­n’t go uncom­ment­ed either. “We’re no longer liv­ing in the Cold War,” Merkel’s spokesman coun­tered. The chan­cel­lor also com­plained per­son­al­ly to Oba­ma. Merkel staffers said Oba­ma’s reac­tion had been con­trite, that he said he would quick­ly rec­ti­fy the sit­u­a­tion and that he offered far-reach­ing con­ces­sions. But Ger­many has been wait­ing in vain ever since.

    The Amer­i­cans may be pri­mar­i­ly to blame for the delay, but it is nev­er­the­less becom­ing a prob­lem for Merkel — not least because the rev­e­la­tions from the archive of for­mer spy Edward Snow­den con­tin­ue to flow. The risk is high that she will appear as pow­er­less in the face of US obsti­nan­cy as her for­mer inte­ri­or min­is­ter, Hans-Peter Friedrich, did last sum­mer. After his fruit­less trip to Wash­ing­ton, he was ridiculed in the press and became the butt of numer­ous jokes.

    It is a sce­nario Merkel would like to avoid. But a show­down is not in her inter­ests either — and formel inves­tiga­tive pro­ceed­ings would mark the next step toward esca­la­tion. In con­flicts like this, there are often many losers, but sel­dom win­ners.

    Avoid­ing Fur­ther Mis­takes

    Chan­cel­lor Merkel has rec­og­nized the dimen­sions of her prob­lem. After mis­steps last year, she strength­ened the Chan­cellery’s role in address­ing the spy­ing scan­dal. She has assigned the task to her new chief of staff, for­mer envi­ron­ment min­is­ter Peter Alt­meier, and Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, a for­mer deputy min­is­ter in the Inte­ri­or Min­istry. She expects the two to final­ly make head­way on the issue.

    In the close to eight months that have passed since the first reports were pub­lished about the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agen­cy’s mas­sive spy­ing oper­a­tions, the only things Ger­many has been giv­en by the US are well-mean­ing assur­ances. Last sum­mer, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment sent a list of ques­tions about their sur­veil­lance pro­grams to the Amer­i­cans and the British, whose GCHQ intel­li­gence agency has like­wise been accused of con­duct­ing espi­onage against Euro­pean Union mem­ber coun­tries. To this day, nei­ther has pro­vid­ed com­plete answers. Instead, ever more threads are becom­ing vis­i­ble in the glob­al spy­ing net­work. It is also slow­ly dawn­ing on the Ger­mans that the para­me­ters of a No-Spy Agree­ment announced by the NSA will nev­er become a real­i­ty. Ger­man gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives last week denied media reports claim­ing that nego­ti­a­tions were close to col­laps­ing. At the same time, hopes are no longer high.

    Merkel’s staff sensed as far back back as Novem­ber that a full-fledged No-Spy Agree­ment might not be pos­si­ble. Point­ing to Ger­many’s pri­va­cy of cor­re­spon­dence, posts and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions law, which is anchored in the con­sti­tu­tion, Ger­hard Schindler, the head of the coun­try’s for­eign intel­li­gence agency, the Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst (BND), demand­ed con­crete com­mit­ments, but the Amer­i­cans fought over demands they said would be equiv­a­lent to sac­ri­fic­ing any espi­onage at all.

    ...

    Ger­mans Seek Clar­i­ty

    Few view that as true peace­mak­ing, and voic­es with­in the Ger­man gov­ern­ment call­ing for a tougher approach are grow­ing more numer­ous. Domes­tic pol­i­cy experts have been open­ly plac­ing their hopes on Ger­man Fed­er­al Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tor Har­ald Range, who has spent months look­ing into a pos­si­ble offi­cial inves­ti­ga­tion into the NSA for spy­ing on Ger­man soil.

    Michael Hart­mann, a domes­tic pol­i­cy expert with the SPD, says he expects “clar­i­ty as soon as pos­si­ble.” His col­league Clemens Bin­ninger of the CDU, recent­ly elect­ed as chair­man of the Par­lia­men­tary Con­trol Pan­el, the body in par­lia­ment respon­si­ble for super­vi­sion of the intel­li­gence ser­vices, con­clud­ed, “It seems quite clear to me that the law was vio­lat­ed on Ger­man soil.” He says it would be under­stand­able if an inves­ti­ga­tion were opened.

    The offi­cial line at the Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tor’s Office is that it remains unclear what will become of the alle­ga­tions against the NSA. The office is treat­ing the sur­veil­lance as two sep­a­rate instances. One is the alle­ga­tion that the NSA spied on the data of Ger­mans mil­lions of times. The oth­er is the alle­ga­tion that it eaves­dropped on the chan­cel­lor’s mobile phone. Thus far, the Pros­e­cu­tor’s Office has told par­lia­ment that there isn’t yet enough evi­dence to pur­sue a for­mal inves­ti­ga­tion.

    It’s a posi­tion that Hans-Chris­t­ian Strö­bele, a mem­ber of par­lia­ment with the Green Par­ty who gained glob­al head­lines by vis­it­ing Edward Snow­den in Moscow in late 2012, con­sid­ers absurd. “They’re just look­ing for rea­sons to shirk respon­si­bil­i­ty because the issue is too con­tro­ver­sial for them,” he says. Gre­gor Gysi, the head of the par­lia­men­tary group of the far-left Left Par­ty, rails against what he describes as gov­ern­ment “yes-men” when it comes to Amer­i­ca. “The fact that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment and the Fed­er­al Pros­e­cu­tor isn’t act­ing shows that their fear of the US gov­ern­ment is greater than their respect for our legal sys­tem.”

    How­ev­er, one per­son is giv­ing seri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion to doing just the oppo­site: Pros­e­cu­tor Range him­self. He already sig­naled to Merkel’s last gov­ern­ment that there was suf­fi­cient evi­dence for him to launch an inves­ti­ga­tion into the issue of the chan­cel­lor’s mobile phone. It’s an assess­ment he has since shared with the new lead­er­ship inside the Jus­tice Min­istry, despite some con­cerns with­in his own agency. “Who’s going to spring into action like a tiger if they know they will wind up a bed­side rug?” posits one source close to the pro­ceed­ings.

    The new gov­ern­ment seems split on the issue. Jus­tice Min­is­ter Maas is sym­pa­thet­ic to the idea of open­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion. Both For­eign Min­is­ter Stein­meier and Chan­cel­lor Merkel haven’t tak­en posi­tions yet. Under Ger­man law, the jus­tice min­is­ter has the right to order the fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor to either open legal pro­ceed­ings or to pre­vent the agency from doing so. But it’s a dis­cre­tionary pow­er used by the jus­tice min­is­ter only very rarely. In this case, it would like­ly prove high­ly con­tro­ver­sial.

    In addi­tion, the chan­cel­lor and her two min­is­ters are con­cerned about poten­tial con­se­quences if the fed­er­al pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor does take action. Indeed, they don’t see much prac­ti­cal use in Range doing so. One of Merkel’s dri­ving prin­ci­ples as a politi­cian has always been to not announce things pub­licly when it isn’t clear if she can deliv­er.

    And most peo­ple involved are rel­a­tive­ly cer­tain that any inves­ti­ga­tion into the mobile phone scan­dal will even­tu­al­ly fiz­zle out. For one, it is vir­tu­al­ly guar­an­teed that any request for legal assis­tance from the Amer­i­cans will remain unan­swered. In addi­tion, it’s not as if one can just inter­ro­gate whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den in Rus­sia. One of the few rel­e­vant wit­ness­es who could give tes­ti­mo­ny is Elmar Brok, a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment with Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tives. He said after a vis­it to Wash­ing­ton that he asked NSA chief Alexan­der if the chan­cel­lor’s mobile phone would be spied on. “Not any­more,” he claims Alexan­der told him.

    One can only com­pre­hend the Amer­i­cans’ obsti­na­cy if one under­stands the lengths US intel­li­gence agen­cies go to keep their oper­a­tions secret. Efforts to spy on part­ners and their lead­ers are among the most clas­si­fied of the oper­a­tions car­ried out by the US as a doc­u­ment from the Snow­den trove, which SPIEGEL has been able to see, demon­strates. The doc­u­ment notes that Ger­many was a US sur­veil­lance tar­get from 1946 to 1967. NSA oper­a­tions from this peri­od, the doc­u­ment shows, were clas­si­fied for an espe­cial­ly long peri­od of time due to the neg­a­tive con­se­quences to be feared if were those oper­a­tions to be made pub­lic. Instead of being kept secret for the stan­dard peri­od of 25 years, infor­ma­tion per­tain­ing to spy­ing oper­a­tions on Euro­pean coun­tries like Bel­gium, France and Italy were to be clas­si­fied for 75 years.

    ‘Seri­ous Harm’

    The doc­u­ment which dis­cuss­es the length of clas­si­fi­ca­tion is dat­ed Dec. 21, 2011 and is signed by the female head of tech­ni­cal sur­veil­lance at the NSA. It states, in a rather cir­cuitous man­ner, that, if com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems sim­i­lar to the ones used then were deployed today, it could lead to intel­li­gence tar­gets tak­ing defen­sive action — an even­tu­al­i­ty, the doc­u­ment notes, which has not yet tak­en place only because “they sim­ply do not appre­ci­ate how well their sig­nals are cur­rent­ly being exploit­ed by NSA/CSS.”

    The fact that the NSA has run and con­tin­ues to run secret sur­veil­lance oper­a­tions out of US embassies and con­sulates is to remain clas­si­fied for 75 years. Oth­er­wise, it “would cause seri­ous harm to rela­tions between the US and a for­eign gov­ern­ment or to ongo­ing diplo­mat­ic activ­i­ties of the US.”

    The Ger­man gov­ern­ment faces a dilem­ma. Should an inves­ti­ga­tion be launched, it could trig­ger an ice age in Ger­man-Amer­i­can rela­tions — just at a time when the two coun­tries are in the mid­dle of a dif­fi­cult with­draw­al from Afghanistan and are nego­ti­at­ing over the trans-Atlantic free trade agree­ment.

    Fur­ther­more, Ger­man intel­li­gence offi­cials are con­cerned that an open con­flict could result in the reduc­tion in the amount of infor­ma­tion the US is will­ing to share. In recent years, Ger­man intel­li­gence has broad­ened its coop­er­a­tion with the US and would like to inten­si­fy it even fur­ther. Intel­li­gence offi­cials have made it clear they are con­cerned about aggra­vat­ing Wash­ing­ton so as not to endan­ger joint oper­a­tions, such as those aimed at coun­tert­er­ror­ism or the illic­it arms trade. “They could sim­ply shut off the faucet,” says one high-rank­ing intel­li­gence offi­cial. That could also make it more dif­fi­cult to keep an eye on Islamists who may be plan­ning attacks on Ger­man soil.

    Rocky Rela­tions with Oba­ma

    On the oth­er hand, how­ev­er, an inves­ti­ga­tion would send a clear sig­nal that Ger­many isn’t will­ing to sim­ply accept every­thing the US does. Merkel isn’t a big fan of such mus­cle flex­ing, but she has no illu­sions any­more regard­ing her rela­tion­ship to Oba­ma. It has had its ups and downs from the very begin­ning.

    Fol­low­ing an ini­tial peri­od of skep­ti­cism, Merkel man­aged to estab­lish sol­id ties with the charis­mat­ic Amer­i­can pres­i­dent, with the apex com­ing when she was award­ed the Medal of Free­dom in the Rose Gar­den at the White House. Oba­ma held a sap­py speech prais­ing Merkel and the chan­cel­lor was touched. It has been down­hill from there, though. Her dis­ap­point­ment with Oba­ma, his hes­i­tance and his fail­ures only grew — and then came the rev­e­la­tions about her mobile phone being tapped.

    As such, con­fronta­tion seems inevitable, and not just between Merkel and Oba­ma. The future of the Inter­net is also at stake and it remains unclear who exact­ly is going to stand in the way of US intel­li­gence’s grab for total access. Is it per­haps time to trans­fer Inter­net admin­is­tra­tion from the US-based Inter­net Cor­po­ra­tion for Assigned Names and Num­bers (ICANN) to the Unit­ed Nations? And how force­ful does a coun­try like Ger­many need to get in order to be tak­en seri­ous­ly in this debate?

    ...

    As the arti­cle points out, the inter­na­tion­al debate over NSA spy­ing is inter­twined with the debate over how the inter­net should be gov­erned so it will be inter­est­ing to see how the NSA spy­ing scan­dal ends up shap­ing the debate over the future of the inter­net.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 21, 2014, 9:47 am
  2. There could be one big win­ner in the US tech sec­tor as a result of all this: the new­ly pro­posed ‘third par­tythat will pre­sum­ably be much more trust­wor­thy than the gov­ern­ment with our pri­vate data:

    Upstart Busi­ness Jour­nal
    Who will be Obama’s ‘third par­ty?’

    Michael del Castil­lo
    Tech­nol­o­gy & Inno­va­tion Edi­tor
    Jan­u­ary 21, 2014, 12:30pm EST

    The UpTake: Cit­i­zens of the world who were tired of how much of their per­son­al data the U.S. gov­ern­ment con­trolled may soon have to get used to a dif­fer­ent dilem­ma: That same infor­ma­tion being con­trolled by a pri­vate com­pa­ny.

    There’s a start­up in the rafters that’s just been wait­ing for this moment.

    Last Fri­day, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma announced sweep­ing changes to the way the gov­ern­ment stores and ana­lyzes infor­ma­tion about tele­phone calls both in the Unit­ed States and around the world.

    Though he made it very clear that the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency will soon cease keep­ing a store of all those ones and zeros, he left his options open as to whether the new gate­keep­ers will be the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies them­selves, or some mys­te­ri­ous “third par­ty.”

    From the moment he said those two words I couldn’t get one word out of my head: Palan­tir.

    Cofound­ed in 2004 by Pay­Pal cofounder Peter Thiel, who is also an investor through his Founders Fund ven­ture cap­i­tal firm, the Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia-based com­pa­ny that raised $605 mil­lion in ven­ture cap­i­tal accord­ing to Crunch­base, took its seed round of fund­ing from In-Q-Tel, the ven­ture cap­i­tal branch of the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

    ...

    Since then, Palantir’s tech­nol­o­gy, which the Times called “the most effec­tive tool to date to inves­ti­gate ter­ror­ist net­works,” has been used to “detect and elim­i­nate sophis­ti­cat­ed crim­i­nal activ­i­ty,” to “har­ness mas­sive-scale cyber data to under­stand net­work activ­i­ty, lim­it expo­sure and hard­en secu­ri­ty against cyber secu­ri­ty threats,” and to “effi­cient­ly, effec­tive­ly, and secure­ly exploit and ana­lyze data to dri­ve more informed oper­a­tion of plan­ning and strate­gic deci­sion mak­ing,” accord­ing to the company’s own site.

    With employ­ees like for­mer CIA and FBI “coun­tert­er­ror­ist” Nada Nadim Prouty, who served the gov­ern­ment until it was dis­cov­ered she wasn’t in the coun­try legal­ly, for­mer U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Glenn Nye, and for­mer U.S. ambas­sador to Greece and Belarus Daniel Speck­hard all list­ed as cur­rent employ­ees of Palan­tir on LinkedIn, the com­pa­ny would like­ly have few prob­lems serv­ing as a bridge between the pri­vate sec­tor and the pub­lic.

    But what per­haps makes Palan­tir most inter­est­ing as a poten­tial “third par­ty” to hold the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions industry’s meta­da­ta is the company’s founders’ stat­ed lib­er­tar­i­an lean­ings.

    ...

    Palantir’s biggest rival, I2, was acquired by IBM in 2011, leav­ing pri­vate defense con­trac­tors and a hand­ful of oth­er In-Q-Tel-fund­ed big data star­tups as what we con­sid­er top con­tenders for the “third par­ty” posi­tion.

    Unless of course, the gov­ern­ment (and those who elect­ed the gov­ern­ment) don’t mind hav­ing IBM or anoth­er mas­sive con­glom­er­ate hold­ing onto their pri­vate data.

    Either way, some com­pa­ny, or group of com­pa­nies, is about to take cen­ter stage in the pri­va­cy debate in a pret­ty big way.

    Per­haps the sin­gle most impor­tant ques­tion in the entire debate is this: Who would we real­ly pre­fer holds onto all that meta­da­ta that paints a per­son­al pic­ture of our lives, but can also be used to pro­tect us? The gov­ern­ment, the phone com­pa­nies, old-school big data firms, or a new­by to the game with some seri­ous start­up cred?

    We reached out to Palan­tir for com­ment and will keep you post­ed as we learn more.

    LOL, yes, let’s give the guy that can bare­ly hide his con­tempt for human­i­ty even more pow­er over every­one’s safe­ty and wel­fare.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 23, 2014, 10:39 am
  3. Snow­den just gave an inter­view for Ger­man TV where he charged that the NSA engages in indus­tri­al espi­onage, grab­bing any intel­li­gence it can get its hands on:

    Snow­den says NSA engages in indus­tri­al espi­onage: TV

    By Erik Kirschbaum

    BERLIN Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:25am EST

    (Reuters) — The U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency is involved in indus­tri­al espi­onage and will grab any intel­li­gence it can get its hands on regard­less of its val­ue to nation­al secu­ri­ty, for­mer NSA con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den told a Ger­man TV net­work.

    In text released ahead of a lengthy inter­view to be broad­cast on Sun­day, ARD TV quot­ed Snow­den say­ing the NSA does not lim­it its espi­onage to issues of nation­al secu­ri­ty and he cit­ed Ger­man engi­neer­ing firm, Siemens as one tar­get.

    “If there’s infor­ma­tion at Siemens that’s ben­e­fi­cial to U.S. nation­al inter­ests — even if it does­n’t have any­thing to do with nation­al secu­ri­ty — then they’ll take that infor­ma­tion nev­er­the­less,” Snow­den said, accord­ing to ARD, which record­ed the inter­view in Rus­sia where he has claimed asy­lum.

    Snow­den also told the Ger­man pub­lic broad­cast­ing net­work he no longer has pos­ses­sion of any doc­u­ments or infor­ma­tion on NSA activ­i­ties and has turned every­thing he had over to select jour­nal­ists.

    He said he did not have any con­trol over the pub­li­ca­tion of the infor­ma­tion, ARD said.

    ...

    You got­ta won­der if the NSA was using the infa­mous TPM Chip back­door to hack into those Siemens net­works.

    It’s also note­wor­thy that this inter­view comes just days after Rus­sia extend­ed its asy­lum offer to Snow­den because going on Ger­man TV and assert­ing that the NSA is engag­ing indus­tri­al espi­onage of major Ger­man firms seems like a pret­ty dam­ag­ing new alle­ga­tion. So you also have to won­der if there were any oth­er revi­sions to Snow­den’s ini­tial asy­lum agree­ment.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 26, 2014, 4:02 pm
  4. Anoth­er tid­bit from Snow­den’s recent Ger­man TV inter­view: Snow­den reit­er­at­ed that he does­n’t have pos­ses­sion of the doc­u­ments but claims that the doc­u­ments — held by trust­wor­thy jour­nal­ists — are act­ing as “life insur­ance”. So it sounds like some­one has their fin­ger on Snow­den’s “Dead Man’s Switch” again.

    Raw Sto­ry
    Snow­den in Ger­man TV inter­view said he believes the U.S. gov­ern­ment wants him dead
    By George Chi­di
    Sun­day, Jan­u­ary 26, 2014 18:43 EST

    Fugi­tive NSA whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den believes Amer­i­can spies want him dead.

    “These peo­ple, and they are gov­ern­ment offi­cials, have said they would love to put a bul­let in my head or poi­son me when I come out of the super­mar­ket, and then watch as I die in the show­er,” Snow­den said in an inter­view tele­vised Sun­day by Ger­man pub­lic broad­cast­er ARD in his first TV inter­view since being grant­ed asy­lum in Rus­sia, as trans­lat­ed by Deutche Welle.

    Snow­den charged in the inter­view that the NSA con­ducts indus­tri­al espi­onage against inter­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions, an act that goes beyond the NSA’s anti-ter­ror­ism role. “If there is infor­ma­tion at [Ger­man indus­tri­al giant] Siemens that they think would be ben­e­fi­cial to the nation­al inter­ests, not the nation­al secu­ri­ty, of the Unit­ed States, they will go after that infor­ma­tion and they’ll take it,” Snow­den said.

    A post on the ARD TV site notes that the video can only be viewed online in Ger­many “due to legal rea­sons.”

    Snow­den made note of his objec­tions to the Five Eyes alliance between the intel­li­gence ser­vices of Eng­lish-speak­ing coun­tries, which he said sub­verts the pro­hi­bi­tion against domes­tic spy­ing by exchang­ing sur­veil­lance data, with Britain spy­ing on Amer­i­cans and Amer­i­ca spy­ing on the British.

    Snow­den is liv­ing in Rus­sia under tem­po­rary asy­lum. He is want­ed on charges of trea­son for steal­ing as many as 1.7 mil­lion doc­u­ments from the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency while work­ing as an IT con­trac­tor in Hawaii, a charge he denies. “I have giv­en every­thing to the Unit­ed States,” he said. adding dur­ing the inter­view that he no longer has any of the doc­u­ments, which have been parceled out to “trust­wor­thy” jour­nal­ists around the world. Their pos­ses­sion of the Snow­den files are the “life insur­ance” keep­ing him from being killed, he said.

    Also, regard­ing Snow­den’s oppo­si­tion to the ‘Five Eyes’ agree­ment because it sub­verts pro­hi­bi­tions against domes­tic spy­ing via intel­li­gence shar­ing agree­ments, the Five Eyes agree­ment is sup­posed to restrict spy­ing on fel­low mem­bers’ cit­i­zens. As the Snow­den doc­u­ments showed, there is indeed spy­ing on UK cit­i­zens by the NSA (which can then be shared with the UK gov­ern­ment), but it’s very unclear from those doc­u­ments that you can actu­al­ly blame that spy­ing on the Five Eyes agree­ment. The insight on Snow­den’s think­ing helps explain why so much of the Snow­den Affair report­ing has involved inter­na­tion­al intel­li­gence shar­ing agree­ments. But with Snow­den call­ing for inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­tions on state sur­veil­lance pro­gram, it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see what types are agree­ments are deemed accept­able.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 26, 2014, 7:34 pm
  5. The great escape does­n’t have a clear des­ti­na­tion:

    Jan­u­ary 27, 2014
    The great escape: How the NSA is dri­ving com­pa­nies out of U.S. clouds
    Euro­peans may leave behind U.S. cloud com­pa­nies all the faster after the most recent espi­onage rev­e­la­tions, but where they could go is a tough ques­tion
    By Ser­dar Yeg­u­lalp | InfoWorld

    The lat­est wave of rev­e­la­tions about NSA spy­ing may leave U.S. cloud providers with a black eye if many of their Euro­pean cus­tomers decide to bail.

    Edward Snow­den’s most recent claim, via an inter­view giv­en for Ger­man tele­vi­sion, is that the NSA con­ducts indus­tri­al espi­onage, rou­tine­ly col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion from non‑U.S. com­pa­nies that have lit­tle appar­ent intel­li­gence val­ue.

    Such things are like­ly to make non‑U.S. com­pa­nies all the more skit­tish about stor­ing their data in clouds run by U.S. com­pa­nies. In fact, such a back­lash may already be well under­way to move to non‑U.S. cloud com­pa­nies when­ev­er pos­si­ble.

    In the inter­view, Snow­den was asked if Ger­man engi­neer­ing con­glom­er­ate Siemens AG was one of the NSA’s espi­onage tar­gets. Snow­den’s reply, accord­ing to Inter­na­tion­al Busi­ness Times, was that “the agency would take infor­ma­tion even though it was not relat­ed to nation­al secu­ri­ty con­cerns.”

    It’s pos­si­ble Siemens did con­sti­tute a legit­i­mate intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing tar­get in the NSA’s eyes — espe­cial­ly after many of its cus­tomers were hit with the Stuxnet worm, which seemed specif­i­cal­ly designed (by whom, is anoth­er sto­ry) to tar­get Siemen­s’s indus­tri­al automa­tion soft­ware. (Siemens did not respond imme­di­ate­ly to a request for com­ment.)

    Some cloud com­pa­nies are already gird­ing to avoid los­ing busi­ness, if they have any say in the mat­ter. Microsoft­’s top coun­sel, Brad Smith, stat­ed that Microsoft plans to let its cus­tomers choose the coun­try where their data is stored. (Microsoft was invit­ed to com­ment direct­ly for this arti­cle, but declined.)

    But defray­ing wor­ries about spy­ing can’t be accom­plished by some­thing as sim­ple as mov­ing data off­shore. U.S. law requires that any ser­vice provider that falls under U.S. juris­dic­tion must com­ply with NSA data requests, no mat­ter where the data is held geo­graph­i­cal­ly. Con­se­quent­ly, Euro­pean reg­u­la­tors have expressed con­cern that U.S. leg­is­la­tion, such as FISA, might pose a greater risk to data pro­tec­tion than any of Europe’s own poli­cies.

    The long-term answer for non‑U.S. cus­tomers, then, may be cloud firms found­ed and run by non‑U.S. com­pa­nies. But that rais­es even more ques­tions: who to replace them with, and where would they be from? Mikko Hyp­po­nen of Finnish secu­ri­ty firm F‑Secure has point­ed out how in such a sit­u­a­tion it’s “good to be a solu­tion provider com­ing from a fair­ly neu­tral coun­try” — that is, not the U.S., nor Europe, and also not Chi­na, Rus­sia, or Israel either. That nar­rows the list a great deal.

    ...

    I can think of all sorts of nations that would be more than hap­py to ded­i­cate their entire economies to secure data ware­hous­ing and lit­tle else. Grant­ed, these nations don’t actu­al­ly exist. Yet.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 27, 2014, 2:55 pm
  6. So...does this mean Merkel no longer wants in on the Five Eyes?

    TheLocal.de
    Merkel rebukes US and UK over spy­ing

    Pub­lished: 29 Jan 2014 14:40 GMT+01:00
    Updat­ed: 29 Jan 2014 14:40 GMT+01:00

    Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel issued a strong rebuke to the Unit­ed States and Britain on Wednes­day over sweep­ing sur­veil­lance and spy­ing activ­i­ties report­ed by fugi­tive IT con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den.

    In a major speech to par­lia­ment ahead of talks with US Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry on Fri­day, Merkel said that West­ern pow­ers sac­ri­fic­ing free­dom in the quest for secu­ri­ty were send­ing the wrong sig­nal to “bil­lions of peo­ple liv­ing in unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic states”.

    “Actions in which the ends jus­ti­fy the means, in which every­thing that is tech­ni­cal­ly pos­si­ble is done, vio­late trust, they sow dis­trust,” she said. “The end result is not more secu­ri­ty but less.”

    Merkel, whose own mobile phone was alleged­ly mon­i­tored by the US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA), is plan­ning to trav­el to Wash­ing­ton in com­ing months for talks with Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma.

    On Fri­day, she will hold talks with Ker­ry “on the transat­lantic part­ner­ship and glob­al polit­i­cal issues”, her spokesman Stef­fen Seib­ert said.

    Merkel stressed that “Ger­many could not wish for a bet­ter part­ner than the Unit­ed States” but also con­ced­ed that the allies remain “far apart” on the “eth­i­cal ques­tion” of free­dom ver­sus secu­ri­ty in state sur­veil­lance.

    “Is it right that our clos­est part­ners such as the Unit­ed States and Britain gain access to all imag­in­able data, say­ing this is for their own secu­ri­ty and the secu­ri­ty of their part­ners?” asked Merkel.

    “Is it right to act this way because oth­ers in the world do the same?” she added before also touch­ing on alleged British spy­ing at inter­na­tion­al talks.

    “Is it right if in the end this is not about avert­ing ter­ror­ist threats but, for exam­ple, gain­ing an advan­tage over allies in nego­ti­a­tions, at G20 sum­mits or UN ses­sions?

    “Our answer can only be: No, this can’t be right. Because it touch­es the very core of what coop­er­a­tion between friend­ly and allied coun­tries is about: trust.”

    Merkel said the report­ed rev­e­la­tions by Snow­den, the fugi­tive for­mer NSA con­trac­tor who remains in hid­ing in Moscow, had hit “with great force” half a year ago.

    The chan­cel­lor, who grew up under com­mu­nism in the for­mer East Ger­many, reit­er­at­ed that Berlin was now dri­ving efforts for a Euro­pean no-spy­ing agree­ment and new rules to safe­guard data pri­va­cy.

    But she played down expec­ta­tions for a sim­i­lar deal with Wash­ing­ton, which has been reluc­tant to set a prece­dent fear­ing oth­er coun­tries would demand sim­i­lar agree­ments.

    “Many say the attempts for such an agree­ment are doomed to fail­ure from the out­set, an unre­al­is­tic endeav­our. That may be,” Merkel said. “Cer­tain­ly the prob­lem won’t be solved by just one vis­it.”

    But she vowed she would con­tin­ue to argue the case strong­ly.

    ...

    As Snow­den recent­ly assert­ed on Ger­man TV, the BND does­n’t just have the soft­ware the NSA uses like XKeyScore for use in build­ing its own data­base. The BND also has access to NSA’s XKeyScore data­base itself, con­trary to the BND’s claims that they were only test­ing it out. So pre­sum­ably this access will be cut off by the BND and all oth­er EU intel­li­gence agen­cies once they form the EU-Eyes club. Or maybe not. We’ll just have to wait see.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 29, 2014, 2:28 pm
  7. It’ll be inter­est­ing to see how far this one goes:

    Mon­day, Feb 3, 2014 04:30 AM CST
    Hack­ers sue Ger­man gov­ern­ment over NSA spy­ing
    Asso­ci­at­ed Press, Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    BERLIN (AP) — A group of com­put­er hack­ers and human rights cam­paign­ers in Ger­many say they are suing their gov­ern­ment for alleged­ly break­ing the law by aid­ing for­eign spies.

    The Chaos Com­put­er Club and the Inter­na­tion­al League for Human Rights said they sub­mit­ted a crim­i­nal com­plaint Mon­day claim­ing that Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel and her gov­ern­ment tol­er­at­ed spy­ing and effec­tive­ly even helped mem­bers of the U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency and Britain’s GCHQ to spy on Ger­man cit­i­zens.

    The groups point to doc­u­ments released by NSA leak­er Edward Snow­den as evi­dence.

    In a state­ment they say the crim­i­nal com­plaint is meant to spark a “long-over­due inves­ti­ga­tion by fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors” into alleged law­break­ing by Ger­man offi­cials and for­eign spies.

    Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors have been con­sid­er­ing for months whether to open an inves­ti­ga­tion of alleged NSA activ­i­ties.

    No doubt they were just search­ing through the XKeyScore data­base to find Merkel’s old delet­ed emails. She’s only human!

    Computerworld.co.nz
    Ger­man gov­ern­ment faces legal action over NSA spy­ing
    Details about the com­plaint will be shared lat­er, one of the com­plainants said

    Loek Essers (IDG News Ser­vice)
    29 Jan­u­ary, 2014 10:57

    The Ger­man gov­ern­ment and the Ger­man Fed­er­al Intel­li­gence Ser­vice are fac­ing legal action because they alleged­ly aid­ed the U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) data col­lec­tion pro­gram.

    “We will send the legal action to the author­i­ties next Mon­day,” said Con­stanze Kurz, a Ger­man com­put­er sci­en­tist and spokes­woman for the Chaos Com­put­er Club (CCC), in an email on Wednes­day.

    “There are sev­er­al per­sons as well as orga­ni­za­tions which are suing our gov­ern­ment and oth­er named per­sons in charge,” she said, adding that one of them is the Inter­na­tion­al League for Human Rights, a Ger­man sec­tion of the Inter­na­tion­al Fed­er­a­tion for Human Rights.

    The com­plainants will bring charges over the alleged involve­ment of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment in the NSA spy­ing pro­grams, she said. “That is one rea­son,” she said, adding that the action was also start­ed “because they did not even try to stop them from tap­ping into phones, hack­ing and spy­ing on com­put­ers and col­lect­ing mas­sive amounts of data although we have clear­ly laws that for­bid for­eign espi­onage.”

    Kurz said the legal com­plaint will com­prise more than 50 pages, and will be pub­lished Mon­day.

    The Ger­man gov­ern­ment and the Ger­man Fed­er­al Intel­li­gence Ser­vice (BND) have been coop­er­at­ing close­ly with the NSA and have used spy soft­ware pro­vid­ed by the NSA, accord­ing to a July report from Der Spiegel based on doc­u­ments leaked by Edward Snow­den.

    Accord­ing to those doc­u­ments, the BND, the Ger­man Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion (BfV) and the Ger­man Fed­er­al Office for Infor­ma­tion Secu­ri­ty (BSI) played a cen­tral role in the exchange of infor­ma­tion among intel­li­gence agen­cies referred to by the NSA as “key part­ners”, Der Spiegel report­ed.

    The NSA also pro­vid­ed the BfV with a spy­ing tool called XKeyscore, accord­ing to the report. The XKeyscore tool is a sur­veil­lance pro­gram that the NSA uses to col­lect data sets and allows ana­lysts to search through vast num­bers of emails, online chats and brows­ing his­to­ries with­out pri­or autho­riza­tion, accord­ing to the Guardian news­pa­per. The BfV has admit­ted to anoth­er Ger­man pub­li­ca­tion, Bild, that it is using an NSA pro­gram, but said it is only test­ing it.

    Kurz is also one of the com­plainants that is chal­leng­ing the legal­i­ty of Inter­net sur­veil­lance pro­grammes oper­at­ed by U.K. intel­li­gence agency GCHQ.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 3, 2014, 1:46 pm
  8. Greet­ings Dave,

    Is it Ber­tels­mann fol­low­ing the EU’s dic­tates, or could it be the oth­er way around, a case of Ber­tels­mann lay­ing down agen­das for the EU? Some weeks ago, I caught a Sat­ur­day morn­ing French radio polit­i­cal pro­gramme in the car. The host was vet­er­an French jour­nal­ist Chris­tine Ock­rent and her guest was a con­su­mate­ly artic­u­late and pro­fes­sion­al gen­tle­man from the Ber­tels­mann Foun­da­tion. While I was­n’t ful­ly pay­ing atten­tion — I’ve come to the point frankly where fam­i­ly time trumps pay­ing atten­tion to snakes, any time, espe­cial­ly on Sat­ur­day morn­ings — one thing struck me: Ock­rent was lap­ping it all up, “reli­gious­ly” as the adverb would be used in French. I was stunned, she was com­plete­ly aligned with the Ger­man view, with­out reser­va­tions, and did not say one word in sup­port of pos­si­ble French views or inter­ests, or any oth­er Euro­pean nation’s for that mat­ter. The Ber­tels­mann guy was all about how Europe had to do Ger­many’s bid­ding, or there could be no Europe.

    Also, this small nugget from a recent entry in Jon Rap­poport’s blog.
    “NOVAK (the reporter): Is it true that a pri­vate [Tri­lat­er­al com­mit­tee] led by Hen­ry Owen of the US and made up of [Tri­lat­er­al] rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the US, UK, West Ger­many, Japan, France and the EEC is coor­di­nat­ing the eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal poli­cies of the Tri­lat­er­al coun­tries [which would include the US]?

    COOPER: Yes, they have met three times.

    NOVAK: Yet, in your recent paper you state that this com­mit­tee should remain infor­mal because to for­mal­ize ‘this func­tion might well prove offen­sive to some of the Tri­lat­er­al and oth­er coun­tries which do not take part.’ Who are you afraid of?

    KAISER: Many coun­tries in Europe would resent the dom­i­nant role that West Ger­many plays at these [Tri­lat­er­al] meet­ings.”

    I’ve nev­er looked much into Tri­lat­er­al Com­mis­sion the­o­ries and can’t assess them but I thought the infor­ma­tion to be sig­nif­i­cant. A “dom­i­nant role” by Ger­many at such meet­ings is inter­est­ing to say the least. Was­n’t the Ger­man ex-SS Prince Bern­hardt involved in the cre­ation of that body? When most peo­ple think about nazis escap­ing after the war, it con­jures up images of tanned Ger­mans rough­ing it up in South Amer­i­can jun­gles. Whether the TC is/was sig­nif­i­cant as a cen­ter of pow­er or not, it is all too clear that many of them tran­si­tioned almost seam­less­ly from war suit to busi­ness suit, into com­pa­nies, banks (such as the very pow­er­ful, and under­stud­ied BIS, about which there is now an excel­lent recent book by Adam Lebor), and per­haps such con­ve­nient are­nas of polit­i­cal pow­er such as the TC for a coun­try that could not assert pow­er open­ly.

    Great show as always.
    All the best,
    goelette

    Posted by goelette | February 7, 2014, 1:14 am
  9. We’re one step clos­er to the mush antic­i­pat­ed EU-Snow­den inves­ti­ga­tion. It also sounds like Jan-Phillip Albrecht is going to push for Snow­den to make a trip to the EU “for a lat­er in-depth tes­ti­mo­ny”:

    The Hill
    Feb­ru­ary 07, 2014, 01:46 pm
    Snow­den has new chance to spill secrets

    By Kate Tum­marel­lo

    For­mer gov­ern­ment con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den has agreed to par­tic­i­pate in the Euro­pean Par­lia­men­t’s inquiry into gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance.

    Last month, the Euro­pean Par­lia­men­t’s Civ­il Lib­er­ties Com­mit­tee vot­ed to invite Snow­den to tes­ti­fy about gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance via video con­fer­ence. Over the last sev­er­al months, the com­mit­tee has been exam­in­ing U.S. gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance, sparked by Snow­den’s leaked infor­ma­tion about the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA).

    On Fri­day, the com­mit­tee said Snow­den will answer its ques­tions either in writ­ing or in a record­ed video.

    In a state­ment, com­mit­tee mem­ber Jan Phillip Albrecht — who rep­re­sents Ger­many’s Greens par­ty and has been a vocal crit­ic of U.S. sur­veil­lance of Euro­pean cit­i­zens — said Snow­den’s input would be “a sig­nif­i­cant and pos­i­tive devel­op­ment” in the Euro­pean Par­lia­men­t’s inquiry into gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance.

    “To con­clude the inquiry with­out tes­ti­mo­ny from its key wit­ness would ren­der the process clear­ly incom­plete,” he said, call­ing on skep­ti­cal com­mit­tee mem­bers to “drop their resis­tance.”

    Albrecht also said he hopes the com­mit­tee will vote next week to call on Euro­pean Union gov­ern­ments to grant Snow­den pro­tec­tion.

    “It is clear that Edward Snow­den will only be able to give us com­pre­hen­sive infor­ma­tion if he can be guar­an­teed a safe stay in Europe for a lat­er in-depth tes­ti­mo­ny,” he said.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 7, 2014, 12:28 pm
  10. Euro­pean Com­mis­sion vice-pres­i­dent, Viviane Red­ing, float­ed the idea of “Unit­ed States of Europe” with full fis­cal and polit­i­cal inte­gra­tion, although not nec­es­sar­i­ly at the same time:

    Euro­zone coun­tries should form Unit­ed States of Europe, says EC vice-pres­i­dent
    Viviane Red­ing calls for full fis­cal and polit­i­cal union for 18 euro­zone coun­tries but says UK should remain apart

    Nicholas Watt, chief polit­i­cal cor­re­spon­dent
    The Guardian, Mon­day 17 Feb­ru­ary 2014 16.37 EST

    A cel­e­brat­ed call by Win­ston Churchill for the cre­ation of a “Unit­ed States of Europe” was revived on Mon­day by a lead­ing mem­ber of the Euro­pean com­mis­sion who said the 18 euro­zone coun­tries should form a full fis­cal and polit­i­cal union.

    Viviane Red­ing, a vice-pres­i­dent of the com­mis­sion, told Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty’s law fac­ul­ty that “bold reforms” were need­ed to avoid ten­sions across Europe as new gov­er­nance arrange­ments were intro­duced to sta­bilise the sin­gle cur­ren­cy.

    Deliv­er­ing the Macken­zie Stu­art Lec­ture, named after the first British judge to serve as pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean court of jus­tice, the Euro­pean jus­tice com­mis­sion­er endorsed Churchill’s view in a famous speech in Zurich in 1946 that Britain should remain apart from the Unit­ed States of Europe.

    Red­ing said: “There is a strong case for a true fis­cal and ulti­mate­ly polit­i­cal union. In my per­son­al view, the euro­zone should become the Unit­ed States of Europe. Like Win­ston Churchill, I believe that the UK will not be part of this, but it should remain a close ally with the fed­er­at­ed euro­zone, with which it would con­tin­ue to share a com­mon mar­ket, a com­mon trade pol­i­cy and hope­ful­ly a com­mon secu­ri­ty agen­da.”

    For­eign Office sources described Red­ing’s speech as “a mixed bag of a lec­ture from an unre­pen­tant fed­er­al­ist”. But the For­eign Office sources wel­comed the acknowl­edg­ment by a senior Euro­pean com­mis­sion fig­ure of the extent of reforms need­ed to cre­ate new gov­er­nance arrange­ments for the euro­zone that would require treaty change.

    Red­ing did not touch explic­it­ly on treaty change. But José Manuel Bar­roso, the pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean com­mis­sion, did call for major treaty change in his 2012 state of the union address in which he called for “a fed­er­a­tion of nation states”.

    David Cameron insists he will be able to table major reforms to the EU if he wins the 2015 gen­er­al elec­tion, on the grounds that treaty change to intro­duce new euro­zone gov­er­nance arrange­ments, which would require the UK’s agree­ment, will be inevitable. The prime min­is­ter has pledged to hold an in/out ref­er­en­dum – fol­low­ing a rene­go­ti­a­tion of Britain’s mem­ber­ship terms – by the end of 2017.

    ...

    Oh wow, so “there is a strong case for a true fis­cal and ulti­mate­ly polit­i­cal union”...sounds like the idea is for a fis­cal union first and lat­er a polit­i­cal union. How might that work?

    Anoth­er ques­tion raised by this pos­si­ble “Unit­ed States of Europe” pro­pos­al: Will all the EU nations ditch their own intel­li­gence agen­cies at that point? Red­ing was call­ing for the cre­ation of an EU intel­li­gence agency by 2020 last Novem­ber. So, once they polit­i­cal­ly merge, will all the nation­al intel­li­gence agen­cies get col­lapsed into once big agency? Or was Red­ing’s pro­posed EU intel­li­gence agency not intend­ed to replace nation­al spy agen­cies at all but mere­ly coor­di­nate their spying(like an EU Eyes spy-ring)? And when there’s a fis­cal but not yet polit­i­cal union, will the troikas get to set spend­ing lev­els for the nation­al spy agen­cies? These are just some of the fun ques­tions in store for the “Unit­ed States of Europe”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 27, 2014, 12:10 pm

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