You’d think that in a country in which a great deal of the population is young enough to remember the East German secret police colloquially known as the Stasi, there would be considerable backlash to the Anglo-American global spy grid. Well it appears that there is. I want to highlight a scathing critique published a couple of days ago in Der Spiegel, one of the most popular weekly magazines in Europe, with a circulation of more than one million. In it, Jakob Augstein wrote an article titled: Anglo-Saxon Spies: German National Security Is at Stake. Here are my favorite excerpts:
American and British intelligence agencies are monitoring all communication data. And what does our chancellor do? She says: “The Internet is uncharted territory for us all.”
That’s not enough. In the coming weeks, the German government needs to show that it is bound to its citizens and not to an intelligence-industrial complex that abuses our entire lives as some kind of data mine. Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger hit the right note when she said she was shocked by this “Hollywood-style nightmare.”
It may be up to the Americans and the British to decide how they handle questions of freedom and the protection of their citizens from government intrusion. But they have no right to subject the citizens of other countries to their control. The shoulder-shrugging explanation by Washington and London that they have operated within the law is absurd. They are not our laws. We didn’t make them. We shouldn’t be subject to them.
The totalitarianism of the security mindset protects itself with a sentence: If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. But firstly, that contains a presumption: We have not asked the NSA and GCHQ to “protect” us. And secondly, the sentence is a stupid one: Because we all have something to hide, whether it pertains to our private lives or to our business secrets.
We were lucky that Edward Snowden, who revealed the spying to the entire world, is not a criminal, but an idealist. He wanted to warn the world, not blackmail it. But he could have used his information for criminal purposes, as well. His case proves that no agency in the world can guarantee the security of the data it collects — which is why no agency should collect data in such abundance in the first place.
So what should happen now? European institutions must take control of the data infrastructure and ensure its protection. The freedom of data traffic is just as important as the European freedom of exchange in goods, services and money. But above all, the practices of the Americans and British must come to an end. Immediately.
That pretty much says it all doesn’t it.
Full article here.
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