• Germany's news in English
 

'Unlike Germany, the US is apathetic to spying'

Published: 25 Jun 2013 14:46 GMT+02:00

Germany is known for its love of data protection and has reacted much more loudly to cable tapping than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. Malte Lehming argues in the Tagesspiegel that people in the UK and US have been more closely interested in the potential terrorist attacks that governments say they want to use the intelligence to prevent.

“It is a puzzle. Anglo-Saxons, especially Americans, seem to distance themselves somewhat from state control. They don't trust their governments and depend on private initiatives to solve social problems.

“Lots of Americans find paying certain taxes to be an unreasonable demand – universal health care seems socialist, a central register of citizens an unacceptable invasion of their privacy. They hold the concept of freedom very high. Yet they react coolly, apathetically almost towards Prism or Tempora, or any Orwellian-type intelligence programmes,” the article said.

This could be, Lehming argued, due to a difference in history. Germans, with their background of Stasi and Gestapo spies are guarded against surveillance culture becoming the norm while in the UK and US, recent terrorist attacks “gave an aura of importance to extensive security measures.”

Yet conservative daily newspaper Die Welt has a different theory. This is that Germany has been forced be more selective about whom and what it keeps tabs on due to having less actual equipment to do so.

“Since September 11th the US has been lacking a benchmark” in moderation, the article argued. Self-moderation is, it acknowledged, one of the hardest things to achieve, especially in the world of technology.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung discussed the concept of secrecy and legality. As the fate of Edward Snowden remains unclear, so does the extent of whom and what “our American and British friends' secret services” were watching.

But the paper urged readers to remember that “not everything that takes place in secret is automatically illegal.” People living in a democracy should be able to trust that the government was acting within the law. There still remained “an internationally safeguarded right to privacy and the protection of one's inner sanctum from arbitrary invasion of the state,” the paper suggested.

For the Frankfurter Rundschau, the surveillance scandal has thrown up questions about the use of spying for the greater good. “Technology's current state means that people – like authorities and companies – are unavoidably instruments of communicating encrypted data," it said.

It remained unanswered, however, what rules a world was being governed with when “every single exchange of communication can legally be listened to in the name of anti-terrorism.”

The Local/DPA/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia
File photo: DPA

Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia

Camera traps have spotted a wolf for the second time in a month in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state environment ministry reported on Friday. READ  

German ranchers murdered in Paraguay
Paraguayan police on patrol in an area known to contain EPP rebels. File photo: DPA

German ranchers murdered in Paraguay

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin confirmed that two Germans living in Paraguay were kidnapped and killed earlier this week. READ  

AfD braces for busy conference weekend
"Vote AfD!" reads the flyover message. Photo: DPA

AfD braces for busy conference weekend

As leaders of the Germany's anti-Euro upstart party Alternative for Germany (AfD) prepare for its party conference this weekend, the potential for chaos is rising. READ  

Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos
Snow in Oberharz. Photo: DPA

Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos

UPDATE: Two people were rescued from avalanches as a blast of winter has taken Germany by surprise, while snow and ice accounted for several traffic accidents across the country on Friday. READ  

BND collects 220 million phone records a day
Photo: DPA

BND collects 220 million phone records a day

Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) collects 220 million pieces of information about foreign phone calls and SMS every day, Zeit Online reported on Friday. READ  

U-turn on minimum wage for foreign drivers
Photo: DPA

U-turn on minimum wage for foreign drivers

Germany temporarily hit the brakes Friday on applying its new minimum wage to foreign truck drivers transiting the country in a move welcomed by Poland, which vigorously opposed the system. READ  

Crises make Germany EU foreign policy leader
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA

Crises make Germany EU foreign policy leader

Foreign policy think-tank the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) gave Germany top marks in its annual check-up of EU member states released on Thursday. READ  

Prost! Beer sales hop up for first gain in 8 years
Photo: DPA

Prost! Beer sales hop up for first gain in 8 years

New figures released Friday by federal statistics office Destatis are numbers breweries can drink to, as German beer consumption saw its first year-on-year rise since 2006. READ  

Germany has thousands of uni spots open
Photo: DPA

Germany has thousands of uni spots open

New research published by Spiegel on Friday shows that there are thousands of university placesa unoccupied across the country, while certain hot spots cope with too much demand. READ  

Borussia coach admits to 'downward spiral'
Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp at a press conference. Photo: DPA

Borussia coach admits to 'downward spiral'

Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp admits feeling the pressure as his side resume their fight to stay in Germany's top flight on Saturday at fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,955
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd