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German Authorities Lack Evidence To Prosecute Anyone For NSA Spying 107

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the leave-no-trace dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "The revelations about the NSA's surveillance program caused particular outrage in Germany, a country that is closely allied with the United States but nevertheless found that its leader's cell phone was being snooped on. Nevertheless, the German federal prosecutor's office will not be bringing any charges against anyone, mostly because they lack enough evidence (Google translation). The decision is sparking anger among German privacy advocates."
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German Authorities Lack Evidence To Prosecute Anyone For NSA Spying

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Translation: The NSA has some information about their politicians that would be... Unfortunate if it was accidentally revealed in a trial.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      That's one possible translation. Another is that they don't know which people were doing the spying.

      For that matter, my wager would be that they can't even prove which organization was doing the spying. All they can really prove is that they were spied upon, and possibly a few IP addresses.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @11:47AM (#47109431)

    We have treaties left over from WW2 that interestingly were put in place. There is a Professor at Freiburg University who says what the NSA is doing in Germany is basically legal. He even claims that the German secret service can legally assist the NSA.

    http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/historiker-foschepoth-ueber-us-ueberwachung-die-nsa-darf-in-deutschland-alles-machen-1.1717216

    We also have a quite unspecific exception clause in Artikel 10 (section 10) of our Grundgesetz (constituiton), that restricts applicability of telecommunications secrecy.

    http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/gg/art_10.html

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @11:53AM (#47109491)

    "Ja, Ve investigated but der Amerikans undt Birtish vouldn't answer zee question and zee others vent all Sgt Schulz on uns"

    Meanwhile, behind the scenes, leaders realized such a prosecution would open a can of worms that could lead to very embarrassing disclosures about German activities and complicity in the spying. No politician wants to be caught in that mess, and the spymasters are quite happy to keep working together while the politicians publicly denounce the spying for their own political ends. I would not be surprised if sone of the professionals are going "We have too get some of that stuff for ourselves" and "Holy crap. They can do that?"

    • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @12:37PM (#47109981)

      "Ja, Ve investigated but der Amerikans undt Birtish vouldn't answer zee question and zee others vent all Sgt Schulz on uns"

      ...Holy crap...

      I have always found it strange how you Anglo Saxons see so much sanctity in feces. To us Germans it is a revolting substance but for you it is the focus of much religious reverence.

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @12:51PM (#47110165) Homepage

        I have always found it strange how you Anglo Saxons see so much sanctity in feces. To us Germans it is a revolting substance but for you it is the focus of much religious reverence.

        That's OK, we've never understood why your toilets have shelves so you can inspect your own feces.

        So, whose the one obsessed with poo?

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Oh, and the Saxons were German.

          • by idontgno (624372)

            Oh, and the Saxons are [wikipedia.org] German.

            FTFY.

            Also, the Angles [wikipedia.org] are Germans. (Nearly Danes, I suppose, but Germans nonetheless.)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          That's OK, we've never understood why your toilets have shelves so you can inspect your own feces.

          It avoids the splash.

        • I have always found it strange how you Anglo Saxons see so much sanctity in feces. To us Germans it is a revolting substance but for you it is the focus of much religious reverence.

          That's OK, we've never understood why your toilets have shelves so you can inspect your own feces.

          So, whose the one obsessed with poo?

          Well, we may examine the turd before despatching it onwards on its journey to the sewage treatment facility, but we have not yet accorded fecal matter the status of a venerated holy relic. Your religious veneration trumps our slightly unusual scientific curiosity.

      • "Ja, Ve investigated but der Amerikans undt Birtish vouldn't answer zee question and zee others vent all Sgt Schulz on uns"

        ...Holy crap...

        I have always found it strange how you Anglo Saxons see so much sanctity in feces. To us Germans it is a revolting substance but for you it is the focus of much religious reverence.

        Well, it started out out as bing referred to as "wholly crap" as in "completely crap" but given the deep Anglo Saxon religious roots it got misinterpreted as "Holy crap" and that is what stuck. Or something like that...

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Why is this acceptable humor but not the "Wi Tu Lo" Korean pilot jokes?

  • translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stenvar (2789879) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @12:05PM (#47109633)

    The NSA couldn't spy and monitor in Germany without the close and widespread collaboration of the German government and German corporations.

    What they are really saying is that they couldn't find someone to shift the blame to outside the government or the corporations close to the government.

    • by Ryanrule (1657199)

      Yup, they were GLAD to hand it over, because that means they get to look at the big pile sometimes. Same with the rest of our allies who were "outraged!!!"
      Outrage the public found out more like it.

  • "follow the money" has gotten trite, but I have to wonder if the German federal government's decision not to pursue this is in any way tied to the large amount of German gold we are holding for them. As I recall, they asked for it back a couple years ago and the US declined to ship it.

  • by sir-gold (949031) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @01:54PM (#47110793)

    Considering how some European countries are so protective of their language, I bet they refused to accept the evidence at hand, because it was in English instead of German.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Considering how some European countries are so protective of their language, I bet they refused to accept the evidence at hand, because it was in English instead of German.

      Unlikely. Although for example SEPA regulation (euro-wide banking rules) require some terms to be provided to consumers in their own native language, the German version of the regulation is full of using English terms whenever some specific thing of the English main text is referred to. For the consumer, this leads to strangely sounding, practically non-understandable documents.

      As another example, the word "marmalade" in English, referring to smashed/sugared fruits of only certain types has now influenced t

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Re I bet they refused to accept the evidence at hand?
      What can any one German do? If they make a fuss, protest your on a domestic security agency watch list as a far right or left sympathiser, fellow traveler.
      No more security work, risk that promotion, your boss gets a hint about your new found political views...
      As in West, East or now in Germany - you protest, you risk a lot long term.
      Asking for telco/privacy law reform in Germany is not fun outside a list of tame political parties, front organization
  • We know the NSA eavesdropped on Merkel, it's been admitted, essentially. The more interesting thing to ponder is, was it just one instance of listening to a single call, or has the NSA been listening in on pretty much ALL her calls? I think we know the answer to that. And, is Merkel the only world leader, person of importance, etc., being monitored? I think we know the answer to that, too. Pretty much EVERY world leader, and person of importance is being monitored as long as they are able to, and there
    • by mmell (832646)
      Fortunately, "well, we know..." is generally not accepted as a legal argument in most modern, industrialized nations.

      You might consider saying "I think we all can agree...". I don't know how extensive NSA monitoring of foreign nationals is. I don't even know that such monitoring takes place. I personally am certain that it does, and I'm fairly certain that it's very extensive. I'd be quite engraged if I knew - it would tell me that our NSA is doing a lousy job if I knew the extent of their activities.

      • by spacepimp (664856)

        People who are pissed off at Edward Snowden are the same people who would applaud the US government if they claimed they needed to curtail free speec/freedom of the press until this whole "terrorist" thing has passed. If only the times were safer to afford such liberties.

        • by mmell (832646)
          I'm trying to stay neutral, myself. Personally, I feel that Mr. Snowden should receive a full pardon for his crimes (and as a matter of law, he did commit multiple crimes).

          (Un)fortunately, that's not my decision to make.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Another fun question for Germany is who clears the crypto tech, the paper trail of its conception, design, development, testing, build.... the fully trusted life cycle of any secure German only telco product.
      How generations of cleared German gov contracted academics, the German military, German security services all allowed this to happen is something for elected German leaders to ponder.
      Can diverse, independent, fully vetted groups of staff, engineers, consultants really just rubber stamp something of th
  • Of course, supposedly no hard evidence or witnesses.

    The general attorney is part of the ministry of justice ... Merkel and other leading politicians have made it clear they do not see any reason to prosecute the U.S. for the privacy invasion the NSA has committed ... now, the general attorney decides there's not enough evidence. Go figure.

    All lying bastards ... too bad the general public does not understand (or care) what most politicians are doing ...

  • The fact that Snowden claimed it happened isn't proof.
  • Suing for spying? I would expect that type of thing to be an American invention.

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