Press Esc to close

U.S. taps half-billion German phone, internet links in month - report

Berlin, June 30, 2013 , Reuters: 21:23 IST
  American and German flags hang together at Blair House across from the White House in Washington June 6, 2011. File Photo-Reuters
The United States taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month and has classed its biggest European ally as a target similar to China, according to secret U.S. documents quoted by a German newsmagazine.

The revelations of alleged U.S. surveillance programmes based on documents taken by fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have raised a political furore in the United States and abroad over the balance between privacy rights and national security.

Exposing the latest details in a string of reputed spying programmes, Der Spiegel quoted from an internal NSA document which it said its reporters had seen.

The document Spiegel cited showed that the United States categorised Germany as a "third-class" partner and that surveillance there was stronger than in any other EU country, similar in extent to China, Iraq or Saudi-Arabia.

"We can attack the signals of most foreign third-class partners, and we do it too," Der Spiegel quoted a passage in the NSA document as saying.

It said the document showed that the NSA monitored phone calls, text messages, emails and internet chat contributions and has saved the metadata - that is, the connections, not the content - at its headquarters.

On an average day, the NSA monitored about 20 million German phone connections and 10 million internet data sets, rising to 60 million phone connections on busy days, the report said.

While it had been known from disclosures by Snowden that the United States tapped data in Germany, the extent was previously unclear.

News of the U.S. cyber-espionage programme Prism and the British equivalent Tempora have outraged Germans, who are highly sensitive to government monitoring having lived through the Stasi secret police in the former communist East Germany and with lingering memories of the Gestapo of Hitler's Nazi regime.

A Spiegel report on Saturday that the NSA had spied on European Union offices caused outrage among EU policymakers, with some even calling for a suspension to talks for a free trade agreement between Washington and the EU. [ID:nL5N0F50KP]

In France, Der Spiegel reported, the United States taps about 2 million connection data a day. Only Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand were explicitly exempted from spy attacks.

Snowden, a U.S. citizen, fled the United States to Hong Kong in May, a few weeks before the publication in the Guardian and the Washington Post of details he provided about secret U.S. government surveillance of internet and phone traffic.

He has been holed up in a Moscow airport transit area for a week after U.S. authorities revoked his passport. The leftist government of Ecuador is reviewing his request for asylum.



Go to Top

Most trending stories
Photo Gallery
A helicopter is seen flying over the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta...

A helicopter is seen flying over the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta...

Transgender Shanavi Ponnusamy arrives at the chief minister's cell at...

Transgender Shanavi Ponnusamy arrives at the chief minister's cell at...

Lufthansa tests humanoid robot 'Josie Pepper' at airport...

Lufthansa tests humanoid robot 'Josie Pepper' at airport...

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa presents a memento to the...

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa presents a memento to the...

Alpine Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Women's Downhill Training...

Alpine Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Women's Downhill Training...

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets business leaders at the end of...

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets business leaders at the end of...

Greenpeace demonstrators in all-over bodysuits protest against pollution...

Greenpeace demonstrators in all-over bodysuits protest against pollution...

A Marathi mother-daughter duo during a procession to commemorate Shivaji Jayanti...

A Marathi mother-daughter duo during a procession to commemorate Shivaji Jayanti...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the saints during the...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the saints during the...

Raphael Manet checks the growth of radish seedlings as he works at the...

Raphael Manet checks the growth of radish seedlings as he works at the...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.