Am I too cynical? I think what I am asking is, does she demand an explanation like Obama demanded Guantanamo to be closed and whistleblower laws to be strengthened?
Germany is somewhat of an economic powerhouse, but paradoxically radical innovation is culturally frowned-upon. This means that German tech is usually not ground-breaking but incrementally-improved-to-death (by heavyweight scientists with a lot of clout). Since there is reason to believe that a large part of all this spying is simply industrial espionage on behalf of big US companies, I believe the German government is afraid the local industry will quickly lose even more ground than it already has. Since innovation in this country doesn't move very fast, the damage would be long-lasting and potentially devastating.
Therefore I think the U.S. has an interest to seek a solution that Germany and other countries with significant economy are happy with.
It's funny to see all this railing up against NSA and PRISM, while tomorrow, the first of July 2013, the "Bestandsdatenauskunft" will be implemented as law in Germany. A commentator from Die Zeit newspaper tersely summed up the intentionally abstruse wording of the new rules. The law means, “that police and intelligence services will in the future be allowed to obtain extremely personal information about mobile phone users, and do so with the press of a button and without having to face any major legal hurdles”.
Crudely translated it would mean something similar to "Inventory Data Information Act". Parts of the new law are the following:
> With respect to the obligations of the access providers, ISPs with more than 100,000 customers are now required to maintain a “secure electronic interface” in order to minimise the time needed for certain agencies to retrieve information.
The innocuous sounding term, “inventory data”, should not detract from the fact that the issue involves direct access to people’s private lives. “Not only names, addresses and bank account details will be sent to the police. But also the PINs of the mobile phones, and passwords blocking e-mail inboxes and accessing services like Dropbox and dynamic IP addresses”, warned Die Zeit .
Proper english article (I don't know about this source in general, but this one is accurate): https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/11/germ-a11.html
Google translated german articles:
Die Zeit: http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_...
Der Spiegel: http://translate.google.de/translate?hl=de&sl=de&tl=en&u=htt...
The debate about this is astonishing mute on its own, but compared to the NSA, PRISM and TEMPORA public outcry, the debate about the Bestandsdatenauskunft is basically non-existent at the moment.
Since I was a small child, everyone joked about the NSA listening to US citizen's phone calls. What is unusual about today is now the technology exists to save the communications data forever and organize it in a manner that produces meaningful facts.
Unfortunately we have ended up with a data cold war, where all governments are spying on everyone all of the time. It is logical for the US government to embrace encryption use by Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc, because they are able to access that data that foreign governments can not. I imagine Google's escalating implementations of user security relate directly to international spying activity.
As such, we should expect more spying by everyone, in an escalating manner. In less democratic societies, expect the result of unlimited blackmail, espionage, and murder.
The only alternative we have left for a free society are open source communication platforms that employ user-side encryption. (Sorry Silent Circle.)
One of the least discussed topics in this whole cyber-security fiasco is the issue of the exploit industry: hackers and hacker collectives buy, sell, and trade software exploits between each-other and state governments.
This flies in the face of actual security in that software corporations and state governments purchase exploits in order to buy a hacker's silence (preventing the sale the same exploit to competitors) or clandestine operations. How do you think the NSA (et al) hacked into various computer systems across the world? They've got a stockpile of zero-day exploits.
This stockpile of zero-day exploits is similar to the previous cold war's stockpile of nuclear warheads: it reinforces MAD (mutually-assured destruction). We lived through a little over half a century under the fear of nuclear warfare, do we want to endure the same threat in the 21st century?
Not to say this is really old news but this has been going on for so long that nobody in any German service should be allowed to deny even the least bit of it.
The more interesting question still remaining will be why none of them has done anything about it for decades but fighting whistle-blowers and ruining the lives of those who care.
I also wonder why people who are committing to official business aren't having everything encrypted anyways. I don't know how technically difficult it is to encrypt phone calls, but I can't imagine it being that hard.
I wonder about all those people which think its normal/not surprising. I bet you had not the slightest idea about the scale of NSA spying. NSA even compromised EU offices and there is probably more to come. This reminds me of Cold War and allies should not be treated like that.
By the way the German federal prosecution office has now stated its collecting data about the NSA spying (http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/bundesanwaltschaft...). NSA spying gets lots of media coverage now, this might also turn the tides in the upcoming election. Good luck pirate party!
Would you mind please telling us the next big development before it happens so that we can get a jump-start on being so surprised?