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US, Germany To Enter No-Spying Agreement 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the solving-nonexistent-problems dept.
itwbennett writes "The German Federal Intelligence Service said in a news release that the U.S. has verbally committed to enter into a no-spying agreement with Germany. The no-spying agreement talks were announced as part of a progress report on an eight-point program proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in July with measures to better protect the privacy of German citizens. In the progress report, the German government found that U.S. intelligence services comply with German law. Also, the operators of large German Internet exchanges and the federal government did not find any evidence that the U.S. spies on Germans, the government said."
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US, Germany To Enter No-Spying Agreement

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  • yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @05:56PM (#44568737)

    and no one will ever cheat.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:12PM (#44568881) Homepage Journal

      I, for one, trust James Clapper to not lie to the Bundestag.
       

    • by arcite (661011) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:17PM (#44568917)
      The US will just contract out the spying to a third party (or country, ally). No harm no foul. Money talks.
      • by interval1066 (668936) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:35PM (#44569057) Homepage Journal
        Germany, as the economic engine to the EU, certainly has the money to do the same, and don't think they won't. This will last only as long as its not inconvienient to each respective parrty.
        • by rioki (1328185)

          Except that they will first create a committee to make it an European effort. After something is achieved, they will create a second committee that will replicate some of the effort by a national body, since the European body gets nothing done. Lots of discussing later not much is achieved at all.

          But honestly I like the German/European wasting time and money better than the US, at least not all of the money was given to a large shady corporation.

        • Germany may be the largest economy in the EU, but by far not the majority (20%). The largest economies are Germany (3,4M), France (2,6M), UK (2,4M), Italy (2,0M) and Spain (1,4M GDP per capita). It's an unfair simplification to say there is one economic engine of the EU.

      • by isorox (205688) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @07:10PM (#44569379) Homepage Journal

        The US will just contract out the spying to a third party (or country, ally). No harm no foul. Money talks.

        Yes, the US will contract out it's Euro spying to Germany.

        Meanwhile Germany will contract out it's America spying to the US.

        Job done.

    • Re:yeah, right (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ImdatS (958642) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:18PM (#44568921) Homepage

      WHEREAS

      "USA" shall mean the "United States of America" and all its government and military institutions.
      "US Citizen" shall mean any citizen of "USA". ...

      WHEREAS
      "Germany" shall mean the Federal Republic of Germany and any and all government and military institutions.
      "German Citizen" shall mean any citizen of "Germany". ...

      NOW THEREFORE,

      Germany and USA agree that neither party shall secretly or otherwise authorize any of its citizens to secretly obtain information about the other party's citizen or those citizen's communication, publication, ... within the other party's legal borders unless expressly authorized by the other party.

      --snip--
      Do you see the problem?

      1) "Oh, sorry. We though he is not a citizen of your country because his name isn't a typical German/US name."
      2) "We didn't spy within your borders. We just checked emails on Gmail, Yahoo, etc."
      3) "We never authorized such spying. We will identify the person and fire him/her."
      4) "Hey Max, I have this guy in [Berlin|New York] and have ample int that he might be plotting to commit acts of terrorism. Can you let me spy on him?" - Max: "Yeah, sure, go ahead. I also have a guy in [Munich|Orlando], can I spy on him? He seems to be interested in pressure cookers..." - "Of course, be my guest."

      Just for the fun of it - I've been doing contracts for so many years, I love picking at them and trying to identify all the holes in them...

      • by s.petry (762400)

        The other flaw in the contract is that it only prevents citizens from spying on citizens. There is no mention of governments spying on citizens in either direction. So if Engineer John Doe spies on Scientist Jargon Spiegeldorf, it's a crime. If either Government agency spies on either person, it's not covered by the agreement.

    • the Obama government only violates the Constitutional Rights of its own citizens, it would never consider violating the rights of foreigners. That would be, like, wrong, and they'd never break foreign law.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *

        it would never consider violating the rights of foreigners.

        Tell that to the parents of the kids killed by US drones.

      • by johanw (1001493)

        That is because, according to the US, foreigners have no rights, so there's nothing to break.

    • by Dishevel (1105119)

      and no one will ever cheat.

      I do not know about Germany ... But the US won't have to cheat.

      After all. The NSA is able to get the meta data for all US citizen phone calls and all of our browsing habits and emails and they are not spying on us.

      I am sure they can "Not Spy" on Germany in much the same way.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      The US is prepared to break its own laws. I don't see why they would abide by an international agreement all of a sudden. Ahh but the politicians will sell it to the sheep, and all will be forgiven and forgotten cos, you know, they said they won't do it anymore.
    • by gweihir (88907)

      Noooo, that would be dishonest! Like spying on "friends"! Oh, wait....

      Seriously, what the US is doing would be rightfully called an "act of war" in ordinary circumstances. As the current German political class is mostly composed of wimps with no backbone or personal honor, they try to sweep this whole mess under the rug. A few nice meaningless words can do the trick, as many Germans do not seem to understand what is going on. This is even more crass as Germany has made excessive bad experience with spying o

    • This is the stupidest thing I have seen lately and that is saying a lot. I am sure every government operating a clandestine intelligence service is just going fold up shop and disband. What is really appalling is the European governments feigned outrage over the NSA intelligence programs when they routinely request and exchange intelligence data with the US. A lot of people today never question any piece of information as long as it makes the government look foolish or evil. Is there any independent proof t

      • dpi is at the HARDWARE level. has been for well over 5 years now (probably longer).

        I don't doubt for a second that the core routers and even out to the edge can do triggers at the hardware level and save data to remote storage. not every single packet on the backbone but they don't have to do that; they only have to know who is worth listening to and then set the triggers for those patterns (complex as they may be, the cpu is not involved anymore).

        users (owners of the routers) can even write their own cod

      • by oreaq (817314)

        I have seen no discussions concerning the hardware and software architecture that is needed for a system supposedly capable of trapping and analyzing all the internet traffic as well as every email and tweet that crosses the wire.

        Really? Google "lawful interception". Cisco [cisco.com] et al have been including these capabilities in the their equipment since at least 2005.

        • I wasn't talking about the capabilities of the individual components needed to construct and operate such a system . I was referring to the sheer scale of the system. Yearly global IP traffic is estimated at 1.3 zettabytes per year (110.3 exabytes per month). Global mobile data traffic is estimated at 11.2 exabytes per month (134 exabytes a year). Forecasts show these figures increasing13-fold from 2012 to 2017. What type of hardware would be required to process and store this amount of data? Running querie

    • by Zemran (3101)

      Spying, by definition, is without permission therefore not agreed upon. Therefore an agreement not to spy has no meaning as you cannot agree to not agree about something. The whole idea is just political spin as both sides must know that this has no meaning and it is only to keep the plebs happy.

    • You made a pinky promise!!!
  • I want one too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kasamir (1792648) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @05:58PM (#44568753)
    Can I get a no-spying agreement with the U.S. government?
    • Re:I want one too (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:05PM (#44568817)

      We have one, it's called the fourth amendment.

      See how well that turned out for us?

      • Obligatory: http://www.xkcd.com/504/ [xkcd.com]

  • by intermodal (534361) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @05:58PM (#44568757) Homepage Journal

    It's not like the US intelligence groups ever go beyond what laws allow, nor do they ever lie about such things...

  • by Thruen (753567) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:01PM (#44568779)
    How can I talk my country's leaders into negotiating such an agreement? Does anyone know who I can send a letter to? I live in the United States of America, sure such a bastion of freedom wouldn't allow spying on its citizens...
  • According to Wikipedia: "Espionage or spying involves a government or individual obtaining information considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, as it is taken for granted that it is unwelcome and, in many cases illegal and punishable by law." I think the operative word here is clandestine...
  • by Nadaka (224565) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:02PM (#44568801)

    Sure, can America not spy on Americans too?

    That sure would be nice.

  • I remember when you did not need a special, explicit agreement to refrain from spying on your own allies. Kids these days just have no manners at all.
    • I remember when you did not need a special, explicit agreement to refrain from spying on your own allies.

      I'm curious - what world did you grow up in? Governments have spied on their allies since there were governments.

      • by godel_56 (1287256)

        I remember when you did not need a special, explicit agreement to refrain from spying on your own allies.

        I'm curious - what world did you grow up in? Governments have spied on their allies since there were governments.

        Yes, but it's probably fairly new where a government will spy on its own people for another foreign government.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        Spied on each other's military and industrial secrets. No KGB agent was reading about the new underwear I bought.
      • by Arker (91948)

        It's not that it never happened, certainly. But it was understood to be forbidden, and people were very careful with small-scale stuff not to get caught.

        This was way too big to keep secret for long and everyone involved had to have known that.

  • Don't worry USA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:06PM (#44568827)

    The UK will spy on Germany for you!

  • Ummm.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Deflagro (187160) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:07PM (#44568837)

    Did that agreement have a little smiley face on it near the end? Does anyone really expect the USA to be honest about their activities? This is more likely a coordinated display to show the US feels bad about being caught red-handed and now they can be trusted by the worldz again.

    The UK will be next I'm sure... I don't know the lapdog priority in Europe though :P

  • by Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:13PM (#44568891) Homepage

    I read this as a "spying exchange agreement". The US promises not to spy on Germans, and the Germans agree not to spy on Americans.

    Instead, if the NSA wants spy data on German citizens, they'll metaphorically "extradite" data that the German government has collected on its citizens (and vice versa).

    That would be my guess, anyway.

    • by Ryanrule (1657199)

      I read this as Germany falling in line with American interests

      • by Torvac (691504)
        yes, it will probably mean that germany has to do the job for the USA in their own country from now on. just like other data transfer agreements in the EU in the past the US will find ways to blackmail germany again to agree to their terms (which is not hard if you spy on all EU politicians and know how to persuade them just the way you want).
  • by Rivalz (1431453) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:17PM (#44568907)

    Here's how I think this agreement will turn out.
    1) If violated the president agree's to have his feet tickled profusely.
    2) To avoid being caught the US allows UK to spy on Germany using our equipment which they hand over the info to us.
    3) US asks the UK not to Spy on the US for this benefit
    4) US asks Germany to Spy on UK for the US for our agreement not to spy on German

  • Sounds legit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:19PM (#44568925) Homepage

    - "We're not spying on anyone, we promise."
    - "Here's proof you were spying."
    - "Oops. Well, we won't spy on anyone anymore, we promise."

  • who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stenvar (2789879) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:28PM (#44569015)

    I have no problem with the German government trying to spy on me. Why? Because the German government has no jurisdiction over me. German state security can't appear on my doorstep and arrest me, no matter how much Merkel or her minions may disapprove of me.

    I do have a problem with the US government spying on me, because DHS and DEA can appear on my doorstep and make my life miserable if they don't like me or want to enrich themselves or find it useful for some other reason, circumventing the justice system and the rule of law.

    Obama made restoring privacy and the rule of law a key point of his presidential bid, and it has turned out to be complete lies.

    • I have no problem with the German government trying to spy on me. Why? Because the German government has no jurisdiction over me. German state security can't appear on my doorstep and arrest me, no matter how much Merkel or her minions may disapprove of me.

      I do have a problem with the US government spying on me, because DHS and DEA can appear on my doorstep and make my life miserable if they don't like me or want to enrich themselves or find it useful for some other reason, circumventing the justice system and the rule of law.

      Obama made restoring privacy and the rule of law a key point of his presidential bid, and it has turned out to be complete lies.

      ever heard of interpol? guess who Obama gave free reign to do as they please?

    • by houghi (78078)

      I have a problem with the US spying on me. They have no jurisdiction over me here in Europe, but that has not stopped them yet.

      Oh and could you please relocate the cemeteries from the brave WWII soldiers back to the US, because the turning in their graves keeps everybody awake.
      (To all the soldiers that were part of the allied forces, regardless of their country [rhttp], I thank you and I am sorry we have let you down.)

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        I have a problem with the US spying on me. They have no jurisdiction over me here in Europe, but that has not stopped them yet.

        That's because you are an obedient, brainwashed little nationalist German who can't even read or understand the posting he is responding to.

    • by alexo (9335)

      I have no problem with the German government trying to spy on me. Why? Because the German government has no jurisdiction over me. German state security can't appear on my doorstep and arrest me, no matter how much Merkel or her minions may disapprove of me.

      There are several problems with your reasoning:

      1) Governments may share data.
      What prevents "Merkel or her minions" to give some or all of the information they gathered about you to Obama and his minions?

      2) Governments may leak data.
      Yoo are an Amerikan, ya? Yoo vill spy for us or ve vill publish ze correspondence vis ze mistress. Ze vife vill not like zis...

      And, the most important:
      3) Governments are composed of people.
      What if one of "Merkel's minions" decides to sell your financial data to the highest bidd

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        1) Governments may share data. What prevents "Merkel or her minions" to give some or all of the information they gathered about you to Obama and his minions?

        That's a US matter, not a German matter: obviously, if the US government can't legally spy on US citizens, it should also be legally prohibited to get this data from third parties.

        3) Governments are composed of people. What if one of "Merkel's minions" decides to sell your financial data to the highest bidder?

        I don't really care if they do; why would I?

        • by alexo (9335)

          1) Governments may share data. What prevents "Merkel or her minions" to give some or all of the information they gathered about you to Obama and his minions?

          That's a US matter, not a German matter: obviously, if the US government can't legally spy on US citizens, it should also be legally prohibited to get this data from third parties.

          "Legality" only matters when it can be enforced. Pray tell who is enforcing the law on the US government?

          3) Governments are composed of people. What if one of "Merkel's minions" decides to sell your financial data to the highest bidder?

          I don't really care if they do; why would I?

          You don't? In this case, may I have your online banking URL, username and password?
          Or, if your bank does the silly "identity verification" questions, let's settle for your address, DOB, etc.

          But if I did, how would that be different from any other crook trying to rip me off?

          Exactly my point. The "government" is comprised of individual people, some of whom may be "crooks trying to rip [you] off".

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            "Legality" only matters when it can be enforced. Pray tell who is enforcing the law on the US government?

            Separation of powers.

            You don't? In this case, may I have your online banking URL, username and password?

            How is that "financial data"? Are you stupid or something?

            Exactly my point. The "government" is comprised of individual people, some of whom may be "crooks trying to rip [you] off".

            I'm sure they are, and that's why it doesn't matter whether the German government has a policy of spying on me or not; it

  • Like, say: Germany informs the US government that being an NSA or CIA employee isn't a "get out of jail free" card, and that crimes committed in Germany will be prosecuted, without exceptions.

    -jcr

  • Any good Cloud Providers or EMail hosts in Germany? I'm moving my data overseas.

  • fools (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:58PM (#44569283) Homepage Journal

    Please get a real journalist on this, not some blogger. A tiny bit of research will tell you a few interesting things that put things into perspective.

    For example, we have an election upcoming, so obviously the government has to appear to be doing something about it, because the people don't like it. My bets are firmly on this dragging out until the election (of course, with constant reminders and "progress" reports) and afterwards, it'll quickly be forgotten.

    For example, there are still laws in place from the end of WW2 and the times of the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany that guarantee the allies spying rights. One of those agreements has just been revoked, to great PR effect. Almost all the mainstream media ignored that other agreements to the same effect still stand.

    For example, the german equivalent, the BND, has been accused of working closely with the NSA, to the point of providing them with raw data. And our current prime minister would sell the whole country to her american friends if it gave her a benefit (a friendly hug would probably suffice). So one likely result is that they will agree the US stops spying, then the NSA lents its spy stations to the BND, who shares the data with the NSA, so everything remains the same, but technically, the NSA isn't spying within Germany anymore.

    If you think the government or the current breed of corrupt egomanics that have taken over politics is there to protect you, you've been living under a rock the past twenty years.

    • Re:fools (Score:4, Funny)

      by bitt3n (941736) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:24PM (#44569995)

      sell the whole country to her american friends if it gave her a benefit (a friendly hug would probably suffice)

      you remember GWB's famous backrub? that was for the dental records of all german citizens since the Kaiser. Tom, you really ought to have that sensitive molar of yours checked out.

  • by korbulon (2792438) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:58PM (#44569291)

    "I see nussink! I vuss not hier! I dit not efen get ahp diss morning!"

  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @07:01PM (#44569311)

    Meanwhile both governments continue to spy on their citizens.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is election campaigning time in Germany: 'A German federal election will be held on 22 September 2013 to determine the 598 (or more, if overhangs are produced) members of the 18th Bundestag, the main federal legislative house of Germany.' (wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_federal_election,_2013)

    These talks about a no-spying agreement is to calm down the population and to try to keep Germans happy about reelecting the incumbents or former incumbents of the major, established parties. The NSA spyin

  • Spy on everyone else agreement.
  • I've never seen such a huge pile of shit!

  • "Also, the operators of large German Internet exchanges and the federal government did not find any evidence that the U.S. spies on Germans, the government said." ...which was viewed as a successful test of the US's surveillance systems in Germany, according to the NSA.

  • This will be the axis around which the world... um... hey, can I get back to you on this?

  • This is a JOKE, right? No evidence? The whole solar system knows that NSA spies on everyone, but the German's government did not find any evidence??? WTF? Are they morons?
  • by Gogo0 (877020)
    wake me when there is a "US, Its Citizens To Enter No-Spying Agreement" story
  • I think they might be up to some spying.

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