The German government has been at the forefront in expressing outrage over the NSA’s blanket surveillance tactics, and has also expressed great pride in Germany’s strict privacy laws.
It has now emerged, however, that a legal loophole allows Germany’s equivalent of the NSA, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) to legally spy on its own citizens (something which it is not normally permitted to do) if they work abroad for a foreign company, as work related calls and emails are considered to belong to the employer.
Germany’s security operations have been thrown it the limelight following the arrest this summer of a BND employee who sold 218 documents classified as confidential or top secret to the NSA for €25,000 (approx. $30,000 USD).
This not only led to the unprecedented step of Germany expelling a CIA ‘chief of station’ who coordinated secret service activity in Germany, but forced the government to publicly admit the scale of US spying operations performed in the country, while at the same time stepping up its own counter-espionage operations.
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