NSA scandal ruins Germany’s trust in US telecom giant Verizon

June 27, 2014   ·   0 Comments

The German Interior Ministry announced on Thursday that it will not renew its contract with Verizon following the scandal involving NSA wiretapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel and other top officials’ phones. The government plans to rely on Germany’s Deutsche Telekom instead in order to restructure the country’s secure communications networks.

It should be noted that many American companies became concerned with the fallout of the NSA scandal, fearing foreign governments and other firms will no longer trust them to provide secure products and services. Apparently, Verizon became one of the first companies that can point to the NSA as a direct cause for a failed business deal.

“The ties revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms in the wake of the US National Security Agency affair show that the German government needs a very high level of security for its critical networks,” said the Interior Ministry in a statement released on Thursday.

However, it should be noted that Verizon is not the only, and probably not the first company to provide NSA with millions of instances of metadata on a daily basis. As far back as 2001, the NSA reportedly collected data from AT&T by re-routing information on its network to government computers.

Despite the fact that the US and Germany are allies, the American intelligence community apparently had access to a wide variety of German communications, according to documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, and these revelations had significantly soured relations between the two countries. The German parliament even invited Snowden to testify about the NSA’s practices in a formal hearing, much to the dismay of the US officials who want the whistleblower prosecuted for espionage.

It should also be noted that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who originally reacting to the scandal with outrage and comparing the NSA to the Stasi – the communist East German secret police – changed her attitude toward the situation after meeting with President Barack Obama in May. Stressing the need for unity, Merkel sought to downplay the scandal, which was not received warmly by opposition parties and many of her constituents.

Meanwhile, further allegations regarding US surveillance continue to be brought forward. According to a report recently published by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR, the NSA had been given access to large swaths of telecoms data by the country’s Federal Intelligence Service. For at least three years raw data was fed directly to the US agency out of Frankfurt – the city is a telecoms hub for much of Europe and beyond.

The former Minister of the Interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich, declared last year that if a foreign intel service had been given a tap into the telecoms node in Frankfurt, it would be a violation of Germany’s sovereignty.



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