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Government Privacy

GCHQ and NSA Targeted World Leaders, Private German Companies 145

Advocatus Diaboli sends this news from Der Spiegel: "Documents show that Britain's GCHQ intelligence service infiltrated German Internet firms and America's NSA obtained a court order to spy on Germany and collected information about the chancellor in a special database. Is it time for the country to open a formal espionage investigation? ... A secret NSA document dealing with high-ranking targets has provided further indications that Merkel was a target. The document is a presentation from the NSA's Center for Content Extraction, whose multiple tasks include the automated analysis of all types of text data. The lists appear to contain 122 country leaders. Twelve names are listed as an example, including Merkel's."
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GCHQ and NSA Targeted World Leaders, Private German Companies

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  • Since USAian's hurt feelings are a matter of national security, NSA is well within the law for collecting info about what Germans think.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Since USAian's hurt feelings are a matter of national security, NSA is well within the law for collecting info about what Germans think.


      Germany is a powerful country. It's leadership - whoever it is - is going to be spied upon by every nation with the resources to do so.

      Or do you really think countries like China, Russia, and even France don't spy on German leaders?

      • Re:Feelings hurt (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @12:51PM (#46610131)

        But you're not supposed to get caught!

      • Well, the very least you should do is not get caught. Especially if you just said a few weeks ago that you're so deeply, incredibly sorry that some overzealous idiots at the NSA spied on your good friend Merkel and that you promise that it will never ever happen again, pinky swear with cherry on top.

        • This spying happened before the "we will nevrr do it again" line that came from Obama.

            It is yet another of Snowden's whistle blowing leaks that only exposed domesttic spying and illegal activities that i was rrvently told was all he exposed.

      • I see your point, that makes it ok then.

        All aboard and full steam ahead!
      • by Smauler ( 915644 )

        Do you think, then, that just about every other country which is spying on Germany is doing it much better than the US? Is that your argument?

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        A criminal act is a criminal act, get caught and you should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, spying is not an excuse for a criminal act. Germany as well as all other countries should actively pursue those involved and prosecute them to the full extent of the law, keeping in mind the death penalty for espionage still applies in the majority of countries. You want to behave in a criminal fashion expect the consequences you deserve, especially keep in mind there is no statute of limitation on espi

    • Better safe than sorry, I reckon. Wouldn't want them to bomb Pearl Harbor again.

      • Are you sure about that? It's quite clear from the historical record that that's exactly what "we" wanted then (the Axis were extremely reluctant to drag the "sleeping giant" into the war, at least until we forced their hand in Indonesia) and it's well understood that Washington had advance knowledge of the impending attack at Pearl and didn't warn the Fleet...

        Do you really think things have changed so much that T.P.T.B. would be able to resist another opportunity to manipulate our nationalistic sensibiliti

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

          and it's well understood that Washington had advance knowledge of the impending attack at Pearl and didn't warn the Fleet...

          I used to think that. Then I found out it was bollocks. Both the knowledge, and it being 'well understood'.

          • by Smauler ( 915644 )

            It is bollocks. Without pearl harbour, and Germany invading Russia, the war would have been a lot closer, because the US and the USSR would not have been on the right side.

        • People in Washington were sure an attack was coming, but they didn't know when or where. Ten days before the Pearl Harbor attack, the Army and Navy sent separate messages to the commanders in the Pacific warning of imminent attack. Some commanders, like in the Canal Zone, were as prepared as they could get.

          The Japanese sent a message to be delivered to the US Secretary of State at a particular time, and there was an effort to warn Pearl Harbor about it, but for technical reasons the message arrived aft

  • @people from the US (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2014 @12:44PM (#46610101)

    Could someone from the US please tell me and convince me why Germany should still be friends with the USA? 'Cause the USA are certainly NOT behaving like a friend. More like a foe and bully who thinks Germany is an enemy.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @01:01PM (#46610187)

      The US actually is the schoolyard bully of international politics. Just in case someone hasn't noticed that yet. The US exhibits every behaviour of the classic schoolyard bully. He beats up the weaker kids but does not want to get into a fight with anyone that could stand up for himself. He steals the lunch money from those that can't defend themselves. Or, in a more modern form, the bully "buys" your cellphone for a buck so you can't say he stole it from you. He bought it, see? Same goes for resources, on an international scale. Should a teacher (or the UN) take a stern look at them, they'll start smooching up to them and pretend that they're gonna help the teacher to keep the smaller bullies in reign, and since that's quite comfortable, they'll gladly take that offer.

      International politics and schoolyard politics ain't that different. It's the same shit on a bigger scale, that's all, but the silly billys are the same.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sumdumass ( 711423 )

        Nonsense. WWII could have been completely avoided if we knew about the plans to remilitarizr the rhine before it happened. A german genersl wrote in his diary that if any of the countries party to the treaty of versalles would have enforced the terms of the treaty, germany would have been stopped well before it became a war.

        We now know that Russia tried to colapse the US dollar in 2008 and china took steps to avoid it because of how heavily invested they were at the time. We know sanctions did not work on I

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          >WWII could have been completely avoided if we knew about the plans to remilitarizr the rhine before it happened.

          ROFL. The most delusional comment of the day.

          Remind me again why sanction on the Iraq were necessary? And why the 2nd Iraq war was justified. Please say WMD. I want to laugh.

          > France and Russia exploited the oil for food program

          Oh noes! As opposed to the US and the Dick Chaney company who are now exploiting the Iraq and enforcing sweet sweet deals? Pot meet kettle.

          • I would thimk taining delusionally ignorant of history would be more funny to people looking at you instead of yourself. But yes, it is a well known fact that Germany violated conditions of their treaty in order to raise the military might before invading other countries.

            And sactions o. Iraq were neccedary because they weren't complying with the terms of the cease fire from the first gulf war.

            I take it you went to public school in the US. I understand why you post AC. I would be embarrased to have you post

            • Your knowledge of history is the one that is flawed.

              It was typical for US pundits to PRAISE the Nazi's for their business acumen and ability to get the population on board with their all encompassing industry and capitalism.

              It was also known that they were building an army but it was politely ignored by the rest of the world.
              • Nothing you said invalidates what i said or contradicts my knowlege of history.

                All you did was state details of what i stated. Perhaps your definition of flawed is different from the rest of the world's.

                Oh, and BTW, the significance of Germany building an army and that being ignored is that the treaty of versalles forbid them from building a military or militarizing their manufacturing sector. If this wasn't ignored, WWII would have been stopped before it happened.

      • I think of the US more as the star player who has gone to seed, and is only now just starting to realise it. He still think of himself as the hero of the team (and indeed, his skills are still exemplary - not what they used to be, but nothing to laugh at either). But nowadays, fitness is not what it should be, too many nights out, too many scandals, too many occasions where his friends had to hush up some indiscretion or other.
    • by pigiron ( 104729 )

      Cuz' we buy lots of BMW's.

    • When you consider that Germany is doing the same to every country on the planet you begin to understand why this whole Snowden/NSA/Spying thing is not news except to those suffering from terminal naivete. Of course every other country is doing the same ... so at the end of the day it's all equal.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Citation needed.

        Yes. Germany has it's intelligence service (called BND. Bundesnachrichtendienst), but it does nowhere the same things with the same scope as what the NSA is doing. Not even close. And in particular not on a supposed ally and friend. Why are you an ally if you can't trust them?

        You are paranoid. You (the US) think that everyone is your enemy. Guess who has the same stance? North Korea.
        And ironically that's exactly what will one day isolate you, like North Korea. Distrusting and bullying everyo

        • I assume BND has been collaborating with US intellicenge a lot. Now, of course, it appears that anybody in Germany having collaborated with NSA (and it's brethen) or GHCQ should be considered a traitor and be put on trial.

          Really, every European Intelligence Agency should be purged from persons who advocate international cooperation. And purged such a way that several genrations of intelligence people will think twice about "exchanging information".

          Of course, what remains of international terrorism wil
          • I think this is the major point here, the NSA is a spy data broker that works for others. The Americans don't care what the gov of Germany is doing, but the German security guys very much do.
        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Citation needed.

          Seriously? Even Canadians know that the RCMP, CSIS, and CSEC spy friend, foe, even on their own citizens.

    • Well until there's a German version of Snowden, we don't know what the BND is doing. That said, it's an extremely safe bet they spy on the US because there is no treaty between the two countries that makes it illegal.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Get used to it.. Stop being butthurt and increase your security.

    • Get used to it.. Stop being butthurt and increase your security.

      That ranks right up there with 'if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear'.

  • It's kind of getting old hearing about the latest spying activity of the NSA.

    It would be more interesting to hear who they're *not* spying on these days.
    • It would be more interesting to hear who they're *not* spying on these days.

      A much shorter list like that would certainly save a lot of time.

  • Putin got it right (Score:4, Informative)

    by roscocoltran ( 1014187 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @01:08PM (#46610231)
    Following the shutdown of services from Mastercard and Visa in Russia, he is pushing for a russian payment system. At least he is facing his responsibilities, not like european leaders who, even facing the evidence that they are spied, won't do anything and still rely on US products.

    We must ban Cisco equipment and Microsoft/Apple systems from our governments offices, once and for all. There are alternative solutions available, let's develop them, let's deploy them. Before, there was a risk. Now there is a fact. So what are we waiting for ?
  • I'm shocked. SHOCKED!

    Seriously, WTF did you THINK they were doing exactly?

    • Re:Spies spying? (Score:5, Informative)

      by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Saturday March 29, 2014 @02:23PM (#46610589)

      GOVERNMENT spies who are spying on POTENTIAL ENEMY GOVERNMENTS are okay.

      GOVERNMENT spies who are spying on ALLIES are not okay.

      GOVERNMENT spies who are spying on PRIVATE companies in allied nations are not okay.

      And before you get to the next part I'll just say that GOVERNMENT spies who are spying on CITIZENS of that government are also not okay.

      • GOVERNMENT spies who are spying on POTENTIAL ENEMY GOVERNMENTS are okay.

        ALL governments are potential enemy governments.

        BLOCKQUOTE>GOVERNMENT spies who are spying on ALLIES are not okay.

        Let's see. First the Brits were our enemies and the French were our friends.

        Then the Brits were our enemies and the French were our enemies too.

        Later on, the Brits were our friends, the French were our friends, and the Germans were our friends. And the Japanese didn't think much of us.

        Then the Brits were our friend

        • by Arker ( 91948 )
          "Spy on everyone, so you won't be surprised when friends become enemies."

          Yes, spy on your friends, that way you can *guarantee* they will eventually become enemies No more surprises!

          Yeah, but there is a downside here, can you see it?
  • So, the NSA is doing foreign signals intelligence, eh?

    As it is mandated by law to do...

    Somehow, I can't get really excited that the NSA is actually doing its job. And yes, spying on foreign leaders is part of the job of the NSA, as it is for EVERY espionage organization in history....

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Everyone knows nations spy on each other. The problem is, this is a case where you spy on your BFF - another NATO member. Someone you promise to defend if they get attacked.

      In this world we only have 1 thing that we rely on. We *trust* each other to follow the law. We *trust* each other to behave properly. Once that trust is not there, then what do we really have?

      There are two ways to violate this trust principle. One is for A party to renege on their obligations - ie. lie to party B. The other way is for p

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The question is what Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Denmark signed up for when sharing their nations telco systems in bulk with the UK and USA.
      A one way deal with Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Denmark getting extra support in other mil areas vs the USA and UK looking at lucrative trade deals?
      Now German private interest and firms with world wide contracts have to face the reality of their own German gov actively, over generations working against German exports, technical secr
    • by Arker ( 91948 )
      Spying on a nation we are at war with? Spying on their military capabilities? Ok, that would be part of their job description.

      Spying on allied nations? Commercial and political espionage? Not the same thing. Not at all.

      Shocked? Not I, not anymore. But folks that still believe the state can do what it's told, not so much.
    • This shocks people???

      Why do we have to be shocked? I wasn't shocked when Snowden 'revealed' the NSA's domestic spying. I wasn't shocked when the DMCA passed. I wasn't shocked when the government took over airports and started molesting anyone who wanted to get on a plane. I'm not shocked that our government spies on friendly countries. The notion that people in power cannot be trusted is not shocking to me in the least. I do not get shocked; I get angry.

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @01:42PM (#46610399)

    http://articles.chicagotribune... [] []

    So people are upset about the NSA spying on companies and a country that was willing to look the other way on some very questionable practices ?

    A little reality check here. George Washington was one of our first spymasters, []
    And the value of intelligence information to our well being has not decreased one bit since the revolution.

  • German companies are some of the biggest arms dealers in the world and have sold arms to regimes that are hostile to the US. Likewise, you'd expect German satellite data providers and German financial service providers to do business with groups that are hostile to the US. And German governments have been trying to make trade deals and agreements that harm the US. The German government itself was monitoring many of its parliamentarians for anti-democratic communist activities, and Germany is a hotbed of Neo

    • German companies are some of the biggest arms dealers in the world and have sold arms to regimes that are hostile to the US.

      Nice joke.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Germany lags the USA and Russia in arms sales. Even the numbers can be tricky with smaller nations e.g. the UK firms doing very well out of US needs during the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. []
      • Germany lags the USA and Russia in arms sales.

        We aren't playing a game of "who is morally superior". We're talking about whether the US has a reasonable national security interest in spying on Germany, and it does, as long as Germany remains a large exporter of advanced weapon systems.

        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          West/Germany opened its telco system up the NSA, GCHQ - with that would have come very few conditions - Germany would not spy on the US and UK.
          The US would help Germany with a few unrelated mil projects and other systems or hardware.
          Germany knew it was a one way agreement but to have German staff supporting junk encryption and help track German firms is getting to be a hard sell.
          German political leaders have to work out if they want to share conversations with 5++ other nations and their contractors. Or

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