Germany Wants the UN to Hamper NSA Spying
Merkel's government goes into overdrive to counter US efforts
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2013 7:39 AM CDT
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, second left, and French President Francois Hollande, second right, arrive for a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

(Newser) – Germany is not reacting kindly to revelations that the NSA may have tapped Angela Merkel's phone. Along with fellow outraged NSA target Brazil, it intends to introduce a new UN resolution that would explicitly extend the privacy protections in the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights to communications made over the Internet, Foreign Policy reports. "The covenant was formulated when the Internet didn't even exist," one diplomat explains. The UN has no practical ability to restrain the NSA, and the resolution doesn't specifically call out the US, but it still represents a clear rebuke—and given this leak, many countries are likely interested in sending that rebuke.

But that's not the only avenue Germany is pursuing. Its other efforts include:

  • Deutsche Telekom is trying to get German telecommunication companies to sign onto a plan to shield German web traffic from foreign spies, Reuters reports, effectively creating a segregated "German Internet." The controls wouldn't work if Germans accessed US-based sites like Facebook or Google, and one professor dismissed it as "a public relations move," but experts worry that if the idea catches on elsewhere, the Internet could swiftly become less efficient and open.
  • Along with France—yet another aggrieved US target—Germany today asked the US to hold talks during which the countries could agree on rules governing surveillance operations, the New York Times reports. Other EU countries may become involved as well. But the offer may be a sign that Germany wants this resolved amiably; Merkel said the dispute wouldn't affect trade talks, for example.