German Secretary of the Interior defends PRISM and total surveillance of citizens

German Secretary of the Interior defends PRISM and total surveillance of citizens

Claus Kleber (CK): Good evening to Washington, Mr. Minister BMI Hans-Peter Friedrich (BMI HPF): Good evening. CK: Can you tell us now if the Americans investigate/snoop wholesale on German telephone conversations and e-mails or not? BMI HPF: Well I had the opportunity to talk to not only the Minister of Justice (Eric Holder) but also the Vice President (Joe Biden) of the USA, and I believe… CK: They probably know about it [the PRISM scandal]. BMI HPF: … it showed the Americans take this very seriously; also, the good relationships with Germany are very important to them. Regarding the question what the NSA actually does, what especially [Holder] was concerned with was which programs [not clear if programmes/projects or computer programs] were used where. There is an extensive legal foundation, laws in the USA, which concern the NSA, the intelligence services. And one can say: Yes, PRISM is a programm[e] that seeks explicitly for terms from the fields of terrorism, WMD proliferation and organised crime. Thus, we have made some progress. CK: And this also in countless millions of German emails and long-distance calls, right? Well, to access such traffic, data traffic, from the side of the NSA, they need a so-called warrant, [issued by a] judge, and the amount also depends on this warrant. How much communication data is affected by this, that’s specified in detail by this warrant. But these terms are being searched for, and that is a program[me] the likes of which are being used by all intelligence services world-wide. CK: That means, you knew that this was happening between the USA and Germany?
HPF: No, we didn’t know that this was happening. CK: But you thought it was? We do also have a legal basis in the G10 law in Germany, adopted by the German Bundestag [parliament], in which it is precisely provisioned that the Bundesnachrichtendienst [German intelligence service] can also check communication content for certain terms – after prior approval by the G 10 commission of course. Insofar this is about the content of communication. But the Americans have, the NSA has also pointed out today that their information has helped avoid 45 big [terrorist] attacks in the world – 25 of those in Europe, five in Germany. And I believe that this shows that this good cooperation with the Americans is important as well. So in your opinion the end justifies the means? BMI HPF: Well, this noble end, eh, to save human lives in Germany, at least justifies cooperation with our American friends and partners to avoid that terrorists, that criminals, are able to harm our citizens. Of course it must always be kept in proportion. This proportionality is what this is about. CK: Did you ask the question about the proportionality of this? BMI HPF: Eh, yes. CK: Did you put the numbers on the table and say: If it’s tens of millions, without distinction, communication by completely ordinary business people or private people. Everything is captured and searched. Is proportionality still being … BMI HPF: *interjection* No, this is not the case… yes… Well, … CK: *interjection* Did I misunderstand you? BMI HPF: I have discussed this with [Holden]. Of course. Discussed with [Holden]. Eh, it was entirely clear: It is not about wholesale scanning of, eh, communication, but about an explicit, eh, search of a limited-quantity number [sic], eh, of, eh, communication, eh, streams. That’s what it is about. And, eh, of course one always has to talk about proportionality. Has to always do this, this, this weighing [of evidence]. No question at all. Eh, but the Americans save [=store], eh, content, only in very special cases and only, er, in a few cases. But of course, the so-called metadata, i.e. what we, eh, know as “Vorratsdatenspeicherung [ DE data retention]”, this is also being [stored] by the Americans. This is not regarded by them as a problem, just the access to these data… the access to these data is what matters. CK: Do you think it is OK that for these things, including communication from and to Germany, now American standards apply, and not those of the German Federal Constitutional Court [i.e. DE Supreme Court]? No, I think you got this wrong. It’s about communication to America and from America abroads. This communication is [stored] in so-called metadata. But access to this data occurs after permit by a judge, just as the [DE Supreme Court]… *interjection* American judges. BMI HPF: Of course, just like the constitutional court prescribed it in Germany, applied to the “minimum saving period” [of collected data]. CK: Thanks for the information from Washington. [ Subtitles from ]


  1. Post

    Meiner Meinung nach ist es relativ unnütz nach "bestimmten Begriffen" zu suchen. Man kann doch in persönlicher Absprache oder auf anderem Wege, gewisse Codenamen für bestimmte Wörter festlegen. Dann wird Bombenangriff eben zur Grillparty oder was weiß ich.

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