There has been much criticism of the US agency in Germany, but surveillance laws in both countries fail to protect internet privacy
In recent weeks there has been much criticism of the US National Security Agency. It spies on people indiscriminately – even the citizens of its European allies – goes the furious and clearly justified accusation. Politicians in Germany and the EU have repeatedly criticised the US. Yet it seems they themselves are sitting in a rather large glass house.
The German intelligence service – the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) – to name an example close to home, does exactly the same thing as the NSA abroad and it does so within a similar legal framework. “The differences between the BND and the NSA are much smaller than is generally accepted by the public,” write Stefan Heumann and Ben Scott in their study on the legal foundations of internet surveillance programmes in the US, the UK and Germany.
Heumann works at the German thinktank Neue Verantwortung (New Responsibility), Scott was an adviser to the former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and is now a policy adviser at the Open Technology Institute, part of the New America Foundation thinktank. In their study, the analysts compared the legal foundations, focus and parliamentary oversight of spying programmes in three countries.
Their findings: the NSA runs the biggest spying programme and has the advantage that its targets – the internet providers – are mainly based in the US. Yet at its core the NSA’s surveillance is no different from that of the British GCHQ and the BND in Germany. The underlying laws have the same structure, write Heumann and Scott, even if “their interpretation can differ”.
Heumann and Scott are not the first to say this. The Berlin-based lawyer Niko Härting, for example, has compared the legal foundations for the work of the NSA and the BND. He also found that both agencies are essentially doing the same thing in that they consider everyone living outside their territory to be “without rights”. In short: intelligence services are allowed to spy on foreigners completely unimpeded. Härting points out that it is, after all, the job of foreign intelligence services to watch everybody else…..
The absurd part is that it is done with the agreement of most German Citizens.
The Countries of the EU need to WAKE UP & see that their sovereignty is being chiseled away piece by piece! All in the name of “Peace”.
Your leaders do not care about you, but only ways to line their Pockets.