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Memo to Merkel: Get a Grip, Part 2


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COMMENT: A cru­cial sto­ry was unearthed for us by “Pter­rafractyl.” 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, sick spec­ta­cle this whole bloody mess is, with a bunch of nitwits cat­er­waul­ing about “civ­il lib­er­ties,” “human rights,” “the con­sti­tu­tion,” and so forth.

In the For The Record series deal­ing with the adven­tures of Eddie the Friend­ly Spook, we will explore the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Merkel, BND and Under­ground Reich are hold­ing U.S. inter­net com­pa­nies hostage to the “Five Eyes” admis­sion process.

“Appear­ances and Real­ity: Merkel Balks at EU Pri­vacy Push” by Gre­gor Peter Schmitz Der 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.



5 comments for “Memo to Merkel: Get a Grip, Part 2”

  1. It looks like Brazil has a grow­ing anar­chist prob­lem although, as the arti­cle below points out, the rise of anar­chist move­ments can be viewed, in part, as emblem­at­ic of the grow­ing frus­tra­tions of Brazil’s new mid­dle-class. And that makes it a much larg­er prob­lem for the Brazil­ian gov­ern­ment than just a bunch of protest­ing anar­chists. Solu­tions are being found. Qui­et solu­tions:

    Insight: Brazil spies on pro­test­ers, hop­ing to pro­tect World Cup

    By Bri­an Win­ter

    SAO PAULO Wed Feb 5, 2014 12:47pm EST

    (Reuters) — Brazil­ian secu­ri­ty forces are using under­cov­er agents, inter­cept­ing e‑mails, and rig­or­ous­ly mon­i­tor­ing social media to try to ensure that vio­lent anti-gov­ern­ment pro­test­ers do not ruin soc­cer’s World Cup this year, offi­cials told Reuters.

    Demon­stra­tions in recent months have been much small­er than those last June when Brazil host­ed a dress rehearsal tour­na­ment for the World Cup, shak­ing Pres­i­dent Dil­ma Rouss­ef­f’s gov­ern­ment and con­tribut­ing to an eco­nom­ic slow­down.

    But they have still result­ed in van­dal­ism of banks and par­a­lyzed parts of major cities as a hard core of per­haps a few thou­sand pro­test­ers nation­wide, some of whom wear masks and call them­selves “Black Blocs,” clash with police.

    Rouss­ef­f’s gov­ern­ment fears the protests, the most recent of which car­ried the slo­gan “There Will Be No World Cup,” could severe­ly dis­rupt the tour­na­ment, which kicks off on June 12 in Sao Paulo and ends with the final on July 13 in Rio de Janeiro.

    Wide­spread images of shat­tered store­fronts, fright­ened tourists and injured police and pro­test­ers — all of which have occurred already — could tar­nish an event that will attract an esti­mat­ed 600,000 for­eign vis­i­tors and is meant to dis­play Brazil’s emer­gence as a glob­al pow­er. Protests are being planned in all 12 cities that will host match­es.

    The recent fragili­ty of Brazil’s econ­o­my, plus a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Octo­ber in which Rouss­eff will run for a sec­ond four-year term, have raised the stakes even fur­ther.

    The media office at Brazil’s SESGE, a divi­sion of the jus­tice min­istry charged with World Cup secu­ri­ty, referred ques­tions about gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance ini­tia­tives to the defense min­istry, which declined com­ment.

    But offi­cials speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty described wide­spread and grow­ing sur­veil­lance of Black Bloc mem­bers, the extent of which has not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

    In addi­tion to mon­i­tor­ing the group’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions on Face­book and oth­er social media, intel­li­gence agents have infil­trat­ed the move­ment and passed along infor­ma­tion to police before and dur­ing recent demon­stra­tions, two offi­cials said.

    Author­i­ties have also used advanced tech­nol­o­gy to locate the com­put­ers of vio­lent pro­test­ers and gain access to their com­mu­ni­ca­tions, with the intent of iden­ti­fy­ing lead­ers and mon­i­tor­ing their activ­i­ties, one offi­cial said.

    The offi­cials empha­sized that such efforts were not being direct­ed toward the Brazil­ian pub­lic at-large, but at mem­bers of vio­lent groups. They declined to spec­i­fy which agen­cies or police forces were con­duct­ing the sur­veil­lance, or pro­vide more details about how the infor­ma­tion was being used.

    The tac­tics reflect the Rouss­eff admin­is­tra­tion’s belief that, unlike last year’s most­ly peace­ful, polit­i­cal protests involv­ing the mid­dle class, the Black Blocs are a crim­i­nal prob­lem and should be treat­ed as such.

    “Last year every­body thought this was the 1960s. But now it’s just Seat­tle,” one senior offi­cial said, ref­er­enc­ing protests that famous­ly turned vio­lent at the 1999 meet­ing of the World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion.


    The sur­veil­lance risks prompt­ing a back­lash in a coun­try with bad mem­o­ries of a 1964–85 mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship that spied exten­sive­ly on sus­pect­ed left­ists includ­ing Rouss­eff her­self, who was then a mem­ber of a Marx­ist guer­ril­la group.

    Fer­nan­do Grel­la Vieira, who over­sees state police in Sao Paulo, declined to com­ment on intel­li­gence pro­ce­dures but said secu­ri­ty forces “com­plete­ly respect the right of peo­ple to protest in peace.”

    “We are act­ing to ensure the safe­ty of the peo­ple against those who seek vio­lence,” Grel­la said.

    A protest in Sao Paulo on Jan­u­ary 25 offered a vivid exam­ple of the kind of dis­or­der that could poten­tial­ly spoil the World Cup.

    Fol­low­ing a peace­ful demon­stra­tion of about 1,500 peo­ple, a few dozen pro­test­ers split away to cut off major down­town avenues, set fires and try to top­ple a police car.

    When police pur­sued a group of pro­test­ers into a hotel lob­by, pan­ic ensued among guests, some of whom were ordered to sit on the floor as offi­cers tried to iden­ti­fy the pro­test­ers and arrest them, accord­ing to local media. Oth­er guests, ter­ri­fied, sought refuge in their rooms.

    The pro­test­ers, and those who have stud­ied them, say such inci­dents have been aggra­vat­ed by the gov­ern­men­t’s response — which they say fun­da­men­tal­ly miss­es what the move­ment is about.

    Black Blocs are an inter­na­tion­al phe­nom­e­non, hav­ing first appeared in Europe in the 1980s dur­ing protests against nuclear pow­er and oth­er issues. Some aca­d­e­mics have com­pared them to ear­ly 20th-cen­tu­ry anar­chists, not­ing their key role in anti-glob­al­iza­tion protests like the 1999 event in Seat­tle.

    In some cas­es, the groups have been lead­er­less and bereft of any orga­ni­za­tion, unit­ed only by their tac­tics and the way they dress — typ­i­cal­ly in all black. In oth­ers, some coor­di­na­tion does take place.

    In Sao Paulo, the Black Blocs have tak­en on a local fla­vor. Adher­ents are most­ly males between the ages of 15 and 23, and are mem­bers of the new low­er-mid­dle class that blos­somed when Brazil’s econ­o­my boomed last decade, said Rafael Alcadi­pani, a pro­fes­sor at the Getulio Var­gas Foun­da­tion busi­ness school who has researched the group and inter­viewed its mem­bers.

    That demo­graph­ic has made big strides in con­sump­tion, able to afford wash­ing machines, flat screen TVs and oth­er goods for the first time. But many of these peo­ple also suf­fer from poor health-care facil­i­ties, bad pub­lic schools and long com­mutes as the gov­ern­ment has not been able to match their ris­ing income — and expec­ta­tions — with bet­ter ser­vices.

    The Black Blocs “believe that the Brazil­ian polit­i­cal sys­tem is bro­ken and that it does­n’t rep­re­sent them,” Alcadi­pani said.


    Black Blocs in Octo­ber severe­ly beat a police colonel, break­ing his col­lar­bone and steal­ing his hand­gun. Pro­test­ers counter that the Sao Paulo police have also used bru­tal tac­tics, point­ing to the shoot­ing of a sus­pect­ed pro­test­er on Jan­u­ary 25. Police say they act­ed in self-defense.

    The gov­ern­men­t’s biggest fear is that the size and vio­lence of the protests will explode again as the World Cup kicks off.

    Whether that will hap­pen is any­body’s guess, as it depends on fac­tors rang­ing from the econ­o­my to the per­for­mance of the Brazil team, which has the most World Cup tro­phy wins with five. Many believe that, if the hosts are oust­ed ear­ly, Brazil­ians will be less engaged in games and more like­ly to take to the streets.

    The Black Blocs’ tac­tics have fright­ened many in the mid­dle class, a major rea­son why demon­stra­tions have shrunk, fail­ing to attract more than a few thou­sand peo­ple since last July.

    How­ev­er, if police go too far in their repres­sion, it could have the oppo­site effect. A heavy-hand­ed response to small demon­stra­tions last June enraged many Brazil­ians, and was a major rea­son why protests mush­roomed in num­bers at the time.

    That tricky bal­ance helps explain why author­i­ties are eager to embrace intel­li­gence and oth­er new tac­tics.

    Grel­la, the Sao Paulo police chief, said police have stud­ied how oth­er coun­tries such as France han­dled Black Blocs. Com­ing weeks will see the debut of a new “Cap­ture Brigade” of uni­formed police with­out firearms that will be charged with detain­ing vio­lent pro­test­ers, he said.

    Police efforts to detain pro­test­ers and reg­is­ter their names, and in some cas­es press charges, have also had an effect. The 200 or so Black Blocs who have been iden­ti­fied by police in Sao Paulo most­ly stayed away from the Jan­u­ary 25 protest because of fears they would be pros­e­cut­ed, said Esther Solano, anoth­er aca­d­e­m­ic who has stud­ied the group.

    Nev­er­the­less, new mem­bers have appeared to take their place — a fore­bod­ing sign for lat­er this year.

    “As long as the gov­ern­ment does­n’t address the main issues, peo­ple are going to keep protest­ing,” said Alcadi­pani, the pro­fes­sor. “Noth­ing has changed since last June.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 5, 2014, 10:36 am
  2. Well this is inter­est­ing: Snow­den has refused to meet with Ger­man law­mak­ers in Moscow. Instead, Snow­den and his Ger­many lawyer are of the view that this tes­ti­mo­ny can only take place in Ger­many:

    The Wall Street Jour­nal
    Snow­den Rejects Ger­man Request for Meet­ing in Moscow
    Snow­den’s Lawyer Says There’s Nei­ther Scope Nor Need for Meet­ing In Moscow

    By Har­ri­et Tor­ry
    June 20, 2014 1:34 p.m. ET

    BERLIN—Edward Snow­den has reject­ed Ger­man par­lia­men­tar­i­ans’ request that he answer ques­tions on for­eign spy­ing on Ger­mans at a meet­ing in Moscow, a law­mak­er said Fri­day.

    In a let­ter to the head of the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the affair seen by The Wall Street Jour­nal, Mr. Snow­den’s lawyer in Ger­many wrote that there was “cur­rent­ly nei­ther scope nor need” for an “infor­mal meet­ing” between the law­mak­ers and Mr. Snow­den in Moscow.

    Ger­man law­mak­ers who sit on par­lia­men­t’s eight-mem­ber inves­ti­ga­tion com­mit­tee into for­eign intel­li­gence activ­i­ties had planned to trav­el to Rus­sia, where Mr. Snow­den has tem­po­rary polit­i­cal asy­lum, to quiz the for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency con­trac­tor on leaked infor­ma­tion about the agen­cy’s sur­veil­lance pro­gram.

    “The [par­lia­men­tary] inves­ti­ga­tion com­mit­tee must respect Edward Snow­den’s deci­sion not to make him­self avail­able as a wit­ness, even for an infor­mal meet­ing,” Roderich Kiesewet­ter, a law­mak­er on the com­mit­tee, said in a state­ment.

    “It’s sur­pris­ing that Mr. Snow­den does­n’t want to respond to the inves­ti­ga­tion com­mit­tee’s ques­tions in detail, but rather just sees his role as one of an expert with spe­cial­ist knowl­edge,” Mr. Kiesewet­ter, a mem­ber of Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Demo­c­rat Union, said in the state­ment.

    Wolf­gang Kaleck, Mr. Snow­den’s lawyer in Ger­many, wrote in the let­ter that the law­mak­ers’ request to have Mr. Snow­den tes­ti­fy before the com­mit­tee would go much fur­ther than pre­vi­ous state­ments his client had giv­en since seek­ing refuge in Rus­sia. Since the “legal and prac­ti­cal basis” for such a tes­ti­mo­ny had­n’t been met, there was no ground for an infor­mal meet­ing in Moscow either, he wrote. Both Mr. Snow­den and his lawyer are of the view that the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans’ desired tes­ti­mo­ny can only take place in Ger­many, the let­ter said.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 24, 2014, 5:06 pm
  3. Ger­many’s Inte­ri­or Min­istry just sev­ered its con­tract with Ver­i­zon and gave it to Deutsche Telekom.

    The Wall Street Jour­nal
    Ger­man Gov­ern­ment Ends Ver­i­zon Con­tract
    Inte­ri­or Min­istry Cites Secu­ri­ty Con­cerns Amid U.S. Spy­ing Dis­clo­sures

    By Anton Troianovs­ki in Berlin and
    Dan­ny Yadron in San Fran­cis­co

    Updat­ed June 26, 2014 2:54 p.m. ET

    The Ger­man gov­ern­ment on Thurs­day said it would end a con­tract with Ver­i­zon Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc. VZ because of con­cerns about net­work secu­ri­ty, one of the most con­crete signs yet that dis­clo­sures about U.S. spy­ing were hurt­ing Amer­i­can tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies over­seas.

    Ger­many will phase out Ver­i­zon’s exist­ing busi­ness pro­vid­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices to gov­ern­ment agen­cies by 2015, the Inte­ri­or Min­istry said. The win­ner in the deci­sion: Deutsche Telekom AG, Ver­i­zon rival and Ger­man phone giant, which will take on those ser­vices.

    The Ger­man gov­ern­men­t’s move under­scores the con­tin­u­ing polit­i­cal headaches for U.S. tech­nol­o­gy busi­ness­es oper­at­ing abroad, more than a year after for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den start­ed reveal­ing the reach of Amer­i­ca’s elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance pro­grams and the alleged coop­er­a­tion with some U.S. firms.

    A Ver­i­zon spokes­woman in Ger­many declined to com­ment direct­ly on the gov­ern­men­t’s announce­ment. She pro­vid­ed a state­ment say­ing Ver­i­zon’s Ger­man sub­sidiary com­plied with Ger­man law, and that the U.S. gov­ern­ment did­n’t have access to cus­tomer data stored out­side the U.S.

    An Inte­ri­or Min­istry spokesman declined to spec­i­fy the size of the Ver­i­zon con­tract. He said Ver­i­zon ran the net­work inter­con­nect­ing some gov­ern­ment agen­cies, though not min­istries or secu­ri­ty agen­cies. Par­lia­ment was expect­ed to sev­er its rela­tion­ship with Ver­i­zon as well, he added.

    To crit­ics in Europe and else­where, the NSA leaks showed that U.S. com­pa­nies weren’t to be trust­ed with sen­si­tive data. Non‑U.S. tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies have tried to cap­i­tal­ize on the rev­e­la­tions to gain mar­ket share. Increas­ing­ly, there are signs that U.S. com­pa­nies face real prob­lems.

    Microsoft Corp. Gen­er­al Coun­sel Brad Smith said last week the busi­ness trou­bles stem­ming from the Snow­den leaks were “get­ting worse, not bet­ter.” Cis­co Sys­tems Inc. Chief Exec­u­tive John Cham­bers has said the dis­clo­sures have hurt sales in Chi­na. AT&T Inc. exec­u­tives have said some of their inter­na­tion­al cus­tomers were being urged by over­seas com­peti­tors to use non-Amer­i­can ser­vice providers.

    But with the Ger­man gov­ern­men­t’s deci­sion, Ver­i­zon is tak­ing a more direct, pub­lic hit. The New York-based com­pa­ny has played a cen­tral role in the past year’s gov­ern­ment snoop­ing debate. The first reports based on the Snow­den doc­u­ments, pub­lished in June 2013, said Ver­i­zon was pass­ing along the phone records of mil­lions of U.S. cus­tomers to the NSA under a secret court order.

    Those dis­clo­sures resur­faced in recent days as Ger­man media report­ed that Ver­i­zon had been pro­vid­ing Inter­net ser­vice to the Ger­man par­lia­ment. The new reports touched a nerve in Ger­many, a coun­try whose expe­ri­ence with Nazi and Com­mu­nist dic­ta­tor­ships has made peo­ple par­tic­u­lar­ly sen­si­tive to spy­ing and where furor over the NSA dis­clo­sures has been rag­ing for a year. Snow­den leaks made pub­lic last fall indi­cat­ed the NSA was mon­i­tor­ing Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s cell­phone.

    On Thurs­day, the Inte­ri­or Min­istry said the Ger­man gov­ern­ment would stop buy­ing ser­vice from Ver­i­zon and cit­ed the NSA rev­e­la­tions in its expla­na­tion.

    “The rela­tion­ships between for­eign intel­li­gence agen­cies and com­pa­nies revealed in the course of the NSA affair show that espe­cial­ly high demands must be made of fed­er­al gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions infra­struc­ture that is crit­i­cal for secu­ri­ty,” the min­istry said.

    The Inte­ri­or Min­istry had been plan­ning to reor­ga­nize the fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices since at least 2010. But Mr. Snow­den’s dis­clo­sures “cer­tain­ly did­n’t slow” the deci­sion to stop doing busi­ness with Ver­i­zon, the Inte­ri­or Min­istry spokesman said.

    Ver­i­zon makes most of its mon­ey pro­vid­ing land­line and mobile telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vice in the U.S. But it also has been look­ing to expand by pro­vid­ing ser­vice to com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ments over­seas, a busi­ness that last year gen­er­at­ed $14.7 bil­lion in rev­enue, rough­ly 8% of the com­pa­ny’s total. Ver­i­zon spent $1.4 bil­lion to buy inter­na­tion­al data cen­ter oper­a­tor Ter­re­mark World­wide Inc. in 2011 and has been expand­ing its glob­al net­work aimed at large orga­ni­za­tions.

    The U.S. tele­com giant has been try­ing to head off a Snow­den back­lash from over­seas cus­tomers since at least last fall, when its U.S. staff cre­at­ed NSA talk­ing points for its off­shore sales team, two peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter said. The talk­ing points includ­ed asser­tions the U.S. gov­ern­ment did­n’t have direct access to Ver­i­zon’s off­shore data cen­ters, that Ver­i­zon obeys local laws in what­ev­er coun­try it oper­ates and that NSA data requests go through Amer­i­can judi­cial review, the peo­ple said.

    Ger­many’s deci­sion to can­cel the con­tract is one of the most vis­i­ble effects on a U.S. fir­m’s busi­ness as a result of the leaks. Until now, Amer­i­can exec­u­tives have issued lit­tle more than gen­er­al warn­ings of a fall­out or giv­en non­spe­cif­ic exam­ples of for­eign cus­tomers get­ting skit­tish.

    “It is not blow­ing over,” said Microsoft­’s Mr. Smith, dur­ing a tech­nol­o­gy con­fer­ence in San Fran­cis­co last week. He added that it’s dif­fi­cult to quan­ti­fy the cost to the Red­mond, Wash., soft­ware giant.

    This year, Microsoft said it would open a “trans­paren­cy cen­ter” in Brus­sels where for­eign gov­ern­ment cus­tomers could check soft­ware code for secu­ri­ty holes that, in the­o­ry, U.S. spies could exploit. In Jan­u­ary, a Microsoft exec­u­tive said the cen­ter should be open by year-end. Matt Thom­lin­son, Microsoft­’s vice pres­i­dent of secu­ri­ty, said the com­pa­ny con­tin­ues to “make progress on open­ing trans­paren­cy cen­ters.”


    Since it’s pret­ty obvi­ous that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment was very aware of the NSA’s capa­bil­i­ties and pro­grams (since they are inti­mate part­ners), it’s inter­est­ing that no one seems to be ques­tion­ing why this was­n’t done before. And as the arti­cle points out, the Ger­man par­lia­ment is also using Ver­i­zon. So could there have been a domes­tic spy­ing capac­i­ty that Ver­i­zon and the NSA pro­vid­ed to the Ger­man intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty that some in the Ger­man gov­ern­ment appre­ci­at­ed? And might sim­i­lar capac­i­ties be planned for the new Deutsche Telekom-run sys­tems? These seem like ques­tions Ger­mans might want to ask.

    You also have to won­der if this is now going to be the trend across the EU, where domes­tic tele­com providers exclu­sive­ly get the con­tracts for gov­ern­ment tele­com ser­vices. It’s a rea­son­able approach so it seems like a trend we can expect....except for the fact that tele­com con­sol­i­da­tion across the EU is still one of the top pri­or­i­ties for the incom­ing EU gov­ern­ment. So it rais­es the ques­tion of mow many of the small­er EU nations are going to have a domes­tic tele­com provider with the capac­i­ty to build a Deutsche Telekom-style anti-NSA tele­com sys­tem for gov­ern­ment use once this cycle of con­sol­i­da­tion is com­plet­ed? Maybe they’ll have to out­source that ser­vice.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 27, 2014, 10:19 am
  4. LOL. Look who’s a tar­get of Ger­many’s “new” counter-espi­onage pro­gram that was announced in response to the new CIA spy scan­dal: France:

    The Inde­pen­dent
    Ger­many to spy on US for first time since 1945 after ‘dou­ble agent’ scan­dal
    Tony Pater­son


    Mon­day 07 July 2014

    Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to scrap a no-spy agree­ment Ger­many has held with Britain and the Unit­ed States since 1945 in response to an embar­rass­ing US-Ger­man intel­li­gence ser­vice scan­dal which has deeply soured rela­tions between Berlin and Wash­ing­ton.

    The unprece­dent­ed change to Berlin’s counter-espi­onage pol­i­cy was announced by Ms Merkel’s Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter, Thomas de Maiz­ière. He said that Berlin want­ed “360-degree sur­veil­lance” of all intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing oper­a­tions in Ger­many.

    The intel­li­gence ser­vices of the Allied vic­tors, the Unit­ed States, Britain and France, have hith­er­to been regard­ed as “friend­ly” to Ger­many. Their diplo­mat­ic and infor­ma­tion-gath­er­ing activ­i­ties were exempt­ed from sur­veil­lance by Berlin’s equiv­a­lent of M15 – the Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst (BND).

    But Mr de Maiz­ière told Bild that he was now not rul­ing out per­ma­nent Ger­man counter-espi­onage sur­veil­lance of US, British and French intel­li­gence oper­a­tions. His remarks were echoed by Stephan May­er, a domes­tic secu­ri­ty spokesman for Ms Merkel’s rul­ing Chris­t­ian Democ­rats. “We must focus more strong­ly on our so-called allies,” he said.

    The plan is in response to the scan­dal result­ing from last week’s arrest of a 31- year-old BND “dou­ble agent” who spent at least two years sell­ing top-secret Ger­man intel­li­gence doc­u­ments to his US spy­mas­ters in return for cash pay­ments of €10,000 (£7,940) per doc­u­ment.

    Chan­cel­lor Merkel inter­rupt­ed a cur­rent trade vis­it to Chi­na on Mon­day to describe the scan­dal as a “very seri­ous devel­op­ment”. She added: “It is a clear con­tra­dic­tion of the notion of trust­wor­thy co-oper­a­tion.” Ger­man politi­cians have been shocked that the Amer­i­cans not only failed to report the “dou­ble agent” but recruit­ed him.

    Sev­er­al Ger­man MPs on Mon­day demand­ed the expul­sion of the Amer­i­can agents in Ger­many who recruit­ed the “dou­ble agent”. Hans-Peter Uhl, a lead­ing con­ser­v­a­tive, told Der Spiegel: “ It goes with­out say­ing that the [US] intel­li­gence offi­cial respon­si­ble should leave Ger­many.”

    The dou­ble agent is report­ed to have sim­ply emailed Berlin’s Amer­i­can embassy and asked whether offi­cials were inter­est­ed in “co-oper­a­tion”. He sub­se­quent­ly down­loaded at least 300 secret doc­u­ments on to USB sticks that he hand­ed to his Amer­i­can spy­mas­ters at secret loca­tion in Aus­tria.

    He was caught by Ger­man counter-espi­onage agents only after he was found offer­ing sim­i­lar BND doc­u­ments to Berlin’s Russ­ian embassy. The Ger­mans had con­sid­ered it “impos­si­ble” that one of their own intel­li­gence men could be work­ing as a “ dou­ble agent” for the Amer­i­cans.

    New Ger­man counter-espi­onage mea­sures would almost cer­tain­ly result in the mon­i­tor­ing of “lis­ten­ing posts”, which both the Amer­i­can Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) and its British equiv­a­lent, GCHQ, run from the roofs of their respec­tive Berlin embassies.


    Grant­ed, it would be com­i­cal­ly absurd for Ger­many not to include the French in their coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence actions, so, on one lev­el, the French can’t be sur­prised. But, on anoth­er lev­el, they must be at least a lit­tle sur­prised by this announce­ment. What on earth did France have to do with this lat­est spy scan­dal?

    At the same time, we have to won­der what oth­er coun­tries just got added to the “we’re watch­ing you watch­ing us” list because Ger­many’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter called for “360-degree sur­veil­lance” of all intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing oper­a­tions in Ger­many. Does that now include all of Ger­many’s allies? Maybe the US, UK, and France were the only coun­tries in the world that pre­vi­ous­ly had this alleged “no-counter-spy” Ger­man arrange­ment and now every coun­try is offi­cial on the list? Who knows at this point. So, it’s a lit­tle sur­pris­ing to see France on this list, but it’s most­ly just com­i­cal.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 8, 2014, 1:56 pm
  5. Did the Five Eyes hack Deutsche Telekom and did the BND know about it? Ger­many inves­ti­ga­tors want to know:

    Bloomberg Busi­ness­week
    Ger­man Pan­el to Ques­tion Exec­u­tives Over NSA Spy Report
    By Patrick Don­ahue, Cor­nelius Rahn and Nao­mi Kres­ge Sep­tem­ber 14, 2014

    Ger­man par­lia­men­tary inves­ti­ga­tors plan to ques­tion exec­u­tives of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions oper­a­tors about reports that U.S. and U.K. intel­li­gence gained direct access to net­works of com­pa­nies includ­ing Deutsche Telekom AG. (DTE)

    Man­agers of net­work providers since 2001 will be asked to tes­ti­fy because the report­ed acts, if con­firmed, would con­sti­tute statu­to­ry offens­es, said Chris­t­ian Flisek, a Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic law­mak­er who sits on the par­lia­men­tary inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee in the low­er house. Roderich Kiesewet­ter, a com­mit­tee mem­ber from Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats, said the reports have to be tak­en “very seri­ous­ly.”

    The U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency and its U.K. coun­ter­part GCHQ tar­get­ed Ger­man providers as part of an effort to peer into com­put­ers and mobile devices all over the world, Der Spiegel report­ed Sept. 13, cit­ing doc­u­ments pro­vid­ed by Edward Snow­den. Both Deutsche Telekom and region­al provider Net­Cologne said they hadn’t found any evi­dence that their net­works were manip­u­lat­ed.

    “If this turns out to be true, then this is cer­tain­ly a new dimen­sion,” law­mak­er Kon­stan­tin von Notz said in an inter­view today. “It shows that Merkel’s foun­da­tion­al prin­ci­ple, that for­eign secu­ri­ty ser­vices have to con­form to Ger­man law on Ger­man soil, doesn’t work at all. We would be naive to think that Ger­man coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence didn’t know this sort of thing was going.

    The agen­cies con­duct­ed an NSA oper­a­tion called Trea­sure Map, which sought close to real-time access to indi­vid­ual routers as well as com­put­ers, smart­phones and tablets con­nect­ed to the Inter­net, “map­ping the entire Inter­net,” Spiegel report­ed. The New York Times report­ed the exis­tence of Trea­sure Map last year.

    Leaked Graph­ic

    Deutsche Telekom and Net­Cologne were marked on a leaked graph­ic with red dots, indi­cat­ing sur­veil­lance access points, Spiegel report­ed.

    In a video pub­lished by The Inter­cept, exec­u­tives from Huerth, Ger­many-based satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­ny Stel­lar PCS GmbH were able to iden­ti­fy their names, roles and servers on the leaked doc­u­ments, which spec­i­fied sur­veil­lance tar­gets.

    A spokes­woman for the NSA declined to com­ment on “any alleged, spe­cif­ic for­eign intel­li­gence activ­i­ties.” In an e‑mailed state­ment yes­ter­day, Vanee Vines said the agency “col­lects only those com­mu­ni­ca­tions that we are autho­rized by law to col­lect for valid for­eign intel­li­gence and coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence pur­pos­es.”

    GCHQ, in Chel­tenham, Eng­land, took a sim­i­lar stance in respond­ing. An e‑mail from an uniden­ti­fied agency offi­cial yes­ter­day didn’t com­ment on the Der Spiegel report, while say­ing that GCHQ’s work “is car­ried out in accor­dance with a strict legal and pol­i­cy frame­work, which ensures that our activ­i­ties are autho­rized, nec­es­sary and pro­por­tion­ate, and that there is rig­or­ous over­sight” by oth­er gov­ern­ment offi­cials.

    A Ger­man gov­ern­ment spokes­woman declined to com­ment when con­tact­ed by phone today.

    Net­work Review

    Deutsche Telekom, in an e‑mailed state­ment, said it has informed Ger­man author­i­ties and is review­ing its net­works with exter­nal infor­ma­tion-tech­nol­o­gy experts.

    “So far we have no more than a col­ored curl around the label of part of our net­works in a Snow­den doc­u­ment,” Deutsche Telekom said. “Nonethe­less we take the indi­ca­tions seri­ous­ly and have involved Ger­man secu­ri­ty author­i­ties. Access to our net­work by for­eign secret ser­vices would be absolute­ly intol­er­a­ble.”
    The CDU’s Kiesewet­ter repeat­ed his call on Snow­den to speak with inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers in Moscow. Snow­den this year reject­ed through his lawyer a request by the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee to ques­tion the leak­er in Rus­sia. Oppo­si­tion mem­bers have insist­ed that Snow­den must be giv­en free pas­sage to tes­ti­fy in front of the com­mit­tee in Berlin.

    Snow­den Dis­cus­sion

    “It’s all the more impor­tant for Snow­den final­ly to put a stop to his resis­tance and to have a dis­cus­sion with the inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee out­side of Ger­many,” Kiesewet­ter said.

    Ten­sions over U.S. spy­ing in Ger­many esca­lat­ed this year amid dis­clo­sures includ­ing the alleged hack­ing of Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s phone. Ger­many asked the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency’s sta­tion chief in Berlin to leave in July as a result of two spy­ing cas­es.


    Keep in mind that Deut­shce Telekom is plan­ning on devel­op­ing NSA-proof ser­vices so it’ll be inter­est­ing to see if this sto­ry flares up like the Merkel phone scan­dal or just qui­et­ly goes away. There’s a bit of a “brand” issue involved. It’ll also be inter­est­ing to learn whether or not the Five Eyes was will­ing to share intel­li­gence on Ger­man cit­i­zens with the BND that the BND could­n’t legal­ly col­lect on its own (as is the stan­dard pro­ce­dure for gov­ern­ments these days for legal­ly spy­ing on their own cit­i­zens). Accord­ing to one Ger­man offi­cial the fol­low­ing report, the CIA has­n’t always par­tic­u­lar­ly forth­com­ing about the intel­li­gence it col­lect­ed on, say, Indone­sia, even though the BND would share its intel on Cen­tral Europe. So would the CIA share its intel on Ger­man cit­i­zens with the BND if that was request­ed?:

    Ger­many’s Spy Agency Is Ready To Shake Off Its Sec­ond Tier Rep­u­ta­tion
    By Elis­a­beth Braw
    Filed: 8/5/14 at 10:04 AM | Updat­ed: 8/5/14 at 10:32 AM

    “In the CIA peo­ple view liai­son rela­tion­ships as a pain in the ass but nec­es­sary,” says Valerie Plame, the CIA under­cov­er agent whose iden­ti­ty was infa­mous­ly dis­closed by aides to Pres­i­dent George W Bush soon after the 2003 US inva­sion of Iraq. Liai­son rela­tion­ships are the CIA’s term for coop­er­a­tion with for­eign intel­li­gence agen­cies, and, giv­en that not even the world’s might­i­est spy out­fit can go any­where it likes, the CIA main­tains plen­ty of such liaisons.

    That includes the decades-long col­lab­o­ra­tion with Germany’s BND (Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst), which was recent­ly dent­ed in a spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion when the CIA appar­ent­ly decid­ed that wait­ing for the BND to deliv­er infor­ma­tion was too labo­ri­ous and so put one of the BND’s own agents on its pay­roll. In fact, after hav­ing estab­lished a remark­able degree of close­ness due to the shared threats of ter­ror­ism and weapons of mass destruc­tions, espi­onage rela­tions between allies are tak­ing a sharp­er turn.


    Keep in mind that the BND agent found on the CIA’s pay­roll report­ed­ly approached the CIA on his own in 2012. So it was­n’t exact­ly the case that the CIA active­ly recruit­ed the guy.


    Thanks to joint efforts fight­ing ter­ror­ists, Nato intel­li­gence agen­cies are clos­er than they were dur­ing the Cold War,” says the direc­tor of a Cen­tral Euro­pean intel­li­gence agency. “But right now pol­i­tics and coun­tries’ dif­fer­ent goals are cre­at­ing bar­ri­ers. That impacts intel­li­gence agen­cies as well.” In order to be able to speak more frankly, the direc­tor asked that his name and coun­try not be iden­ti­fied.

    Nigel Inkster, a for­mer MI6 agent who also served as the agency’s Assis­tant Chief and Direc­tor for Oper­a­tions and Intel­li­gence, adds “There’s been an ero­sion of coop­er­a­tion between Nato allies with regards to Rus­sia. Ger­many and Italy in par­tic­u­lar have become much more eco­nom­i­cal­ly depen­dent on Rus­sia.”

    A recent­ly retired top BND offi­cial, who also asked not to be iden­ti­fied due to the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the mat­ter says, “We’ve always said [to the Amer­i­cans], ‘up to here but no far­ther’. Now they’ve crossed that line.” In response, Ger­many has expelled the CIA’s sta­tion chief. Some Ger­man politi­cians, hav­ing found that the NSA mon­i­tored their phones, are now using encrypt­ed ones.


    Still, the BND and its boss the Ger­man gov­ern­ment were incensed to find that the CIA had signed up one of its own agents. “Despite a lot of intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing now being pos­si­ble through elec­tron­ic inter­cep­tion recruit­ing sources, recruit­ing sources is a pri­or­i­ty for intel­li­gence agen­cies,” notes the BND offi­cial. “But in recruit­ing sources from a friend­ly agency, the CIA crossed a red line.” When Hel­mut Kohl and George H W Bush led their respec­tive coun­tries, says the offi­cial, who was post­ed in Wash­ing­ton for sev­er­al years, the BND had good access to the CIA. “But that’s not the case any­more,” he adds.

    Friend­ly though rela­tions may have been in past years, the CIA nev­er con­sid­ered the BND an equal, a fact the Ger­man offi­cial read­i­ly acknowl­edges. “[In the 1990s] the CIA even told us, ‘you’re not in our league’,” he explains. “When they want­ed some­thing about Cen­tral Europe, they asked us, but if we asked them about, say, Indone­sia, they said, ‘what con­cern is that of yours?’”


    As Ger­man law­mak­er Kon­stan­tin von Notz said above, “We would be naive to think that Ger­man coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence didn’t know this sort of thing was going.” So would we also be naive to assume that the BND was­n’t ask­ing the Five Eyes pesky uncon­sti­tu­tion­al ques­tions about what is known about Ger­man cit­i­zens of inter­est? This is pret­ty stan­dard for intel­li­gence agen­cies with close work­ing rela­tion­ships so it would­n’t be sur­pris­ing if it was the case but it would cer­tain­ly be of inter­est to the Ger­man pub­lic. Maybe that could be inves­ti­gat­ed too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 14, 2014, 9:15 pm

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