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New leaks show Germany’s collusion with NSA

Posted on June 22nd, 2014 at 15:24 by John Sinteur in category: Privacy, Security -- Write a comment


This week German news magazine Der Spiegel published the largest single set of files leaked by whistleblower and former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The roughly 50 documents show the depth of the German intelligence agencies’ collusion with the NSA.

They suggest that the German Intelligence Agency (BND), the country’s foreign spy agency, and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the German domestic spy agency, worked more closely with the NSA than they have admitted – and more than many observers thought.


Among its “success stories,” the documents praise how the German government was able to weaken the public’s protection from surveillance. “The German government has changed its interpretation of the G10 law, which protects German citizens’ communications, to allow the BND to be more flexible with the sharing of protected information with foreign partners.” Germany’s G10 law regulates in what circumstances its intelligence agencies are allowed to break Article 10 of the German constitution, which guarantees the privacy of letters and telecommunications.

  1. They have a law guaranteeing privacy? Why don’t we (USA) have a law like that?

  2. In light of those documents, chas, what’s the difference between US privacy and German “guaranteed” privacy?

  3. The problem is not that there are no laws against this kind of thing, but that the Authorities think that flouting such laws is A-OK and that subjecting us all to arbitrary measures is fine.

  4. Building on what Sue said, the big problem is that True Believers will always believe that their goal justifies breaking the rules, or that the current situation is an exception that the rule makers couldn’t have predicted, so clearly the rules shouldn’t apply.

    A (pardon the pun) canonical example is Lying for Jesus, http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lying_for_Jesus

    The background philosophical issue is whether rules are specific (imperfect) expressions of underlying ideals, and more importantly, if some of those ideals are more important than others. Clearly there are some Authorities who believe that Freedom requires Security, so those who threaten Security forfeit their Freedom.

    So the big question is: does lack of Privacy undermine our Freedom, or does the presence of Privacy undermine our Security?

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