• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

New Snowden doc on Germany cyber war

DPA/The Local · 9 Jan 2015, 10:47

Published: 09 Jan 2015 10:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Jan 2015 10:47 GMT+01:00

"The global war has long since broken out", reporters at Norddeutsche Rundfunk (NDR) say, arguing that a digital arms race has already begun.

NDR journalists interviewed former US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden for the programme, which will also be broadcast in the US and Austria.

In it, the surveillance expert discusses the "black budget" of the American intelligence agencies, which is used to develop methods of attacking digital infrastructure, which Snowden argues could harm or even kill people.

They include the capability to cause power blackouts or penetrate the computer systems of hospitals and banks.

"If internet hubs are switched off, people will no longer be able to call the fire service or the police. If a hospital is attacked, life-sustaining machines could be switched off", he points out.

And the NSA is not the only spy agency developing its ability to compromise other countries' systems, with other governments close behind.

One IT expert confirms that "governmental organizations are making targeted attacks against our economy", while the NDR reporters also found out that Iran conducted an attack against the US banking system via German servers.

That could have been in response to the computer virus Stuxnet, which was used to damage centrifuges in an Iranian uranium-enrichment plant – made by German manufacturer Siemens - and for which the US remains the prime suspect.

"We assume that a few people, particularly in the USA, won't be happy that we're showing this film", NDR documentaries chief Dirk Neuhoff told DPA.

Story continues below…

But the authors of the documentary, who received thousands of classified documents on a USB stick while researching their script, want to reveal information they believe is in the public interest.

"If you look away now, you're gambling with freedom", they said.

Snowden agrees, saying that "the Internet should support freedom and democracy, not be turned into a weapon" - although it may already be too late.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Chancellor Angela Merkel showing up French President François Hollande in a neighbourly battle of table manners. Photo: DPA.

Despite what stereotypes might have you believe, Germans aren't that different from the rest of us when it comes to social interactions. But these tips should at least help guide you through the minor quirks that come with your next dinner invitation.

Thugs' ‘dream cop’ in court for not investigating 100 cases
Fans at a VfL Bochum match set off flares. Photo: DPA

For three years a police officer in western Germany simply ignored many of the cases he was supposed to investigate. His trial started on Tuesday in Bochum.

Police arrest suspect in murder of Chinese student
Police secure the crime scene where Yanjie Lie's body was found on May 13th. Photo: DPA

Police have made an arrest in the case of a Chinese student murdered while she was out jogging a week ago, media reported on Tuesday.

Berlin thief shows heart in surprising act of kindness
Photo: DPA

Pickpockets are an ever more common phenomenon in the German capital. But sometimes they can surprise you.

Bayer's Monsanto bid
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
An anti-Monsanto activist at a protest in Brandenburg in 2014. Photo: DPA

A proposed tie-up between Bayer and Monsanto has inflamed opinion in Germany where most people oppose genetically modified foods.

Why Greece is top of Germany's to-do list - again
Unemployed Greek workers with symbolically chained hands march on May 1st in Athens. Photo: DPA

Greece has been in the headlines more often this year for its front-line role in the refugee crisis than its finances – so just why is it top of Germany's agenda again all of a sudden?

Far-right AfD turns on itself over failed Muslim meeting
Jörg Meuthen. Photo: DPA

The co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany party has criticized his party colleagues after talks with Muslim leaders collapsed after just an hour on Monday.

Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
BMW's headquarters in Munich. Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital leaves other German cities in the dust when it comes to where the highest-valued companies choose to plant their flag.

Bavaria tries to coax migrants into police force
Joachim Herrmann (cr) with police recruits in Nuremberg. Photo: DPA

Bavaria’s interior ministry has started a campaign to encourage more migrants to join up as officers of the law - whether they have a German passport or not.

Extremist violence 'exploded' in record year for refugees
Left-wing violence at the Blockupy protest in Frankfurt in March 2015. Photo: DPA.

It is now official: 2015 smashed all records for political violence, as the far right attacked refugee homes and the far left responded by attacking them in turn, Interior Ministry figures show.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Business & Money
Surprise results give Germany strongest growth in two years
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Munich
The bloody knife attack that shocked a Bavarian town
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
Culture
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
Culture
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Gallery
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Politics
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
Travel
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
Hamburg
Gay penguins move to Hamburg to settle down
Business & Money
See-through €5 coin has collectors lining up
Health
Vegan hemp powder recalled over fear toddlers getting high
7,597
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd