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Deutsche Telekom to curb staff data access after spying scandal

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Deutsche Telekom to curb staff data access after spying scandal
Deutsche Telekom's Rene Obermann in Bonn yesterday.Photo:DPA
10:16 CEST+02:00
The head of Deutsche Telekom said Wednesday the company will curb employee access to client data, as he tried to contain a scandal sparked by revelations that Europe's biggest telephone company had spied on journalists.

“We are going to train staff and reduce data access rights,” chairman Rene Obermann told the weekly Die Zeit in an interview to be published on Thursday, which was released in advance.

Obermann reiterated a pledge to “do everything to guarantee the highest level of security with respect to data concerning our clients.”

Deutsche Telekom has been slammed by the revelation that it hired an outside firm to track hundreds of thousands of phone calls by senior executives and journalists to identify the sources of press leaks. The telecoms giant has acknowledged that such work took place in 2005 and “probably” 2006 as well, and has ordered an internal probe of the affair.

The scandal coincides with others involving high-level German business figures accused of tax fraud, executive pay and corruption at the iconic German groups Siemens and Volkswagen.

“We are facing a crisis of confidence in our ‘social market economy',” conservative political leader Peter Mueller told Financial Times Deutschland on Wednesday.

“The reason is that in several cases, the German economic elite has not been worthy of its responsibilities.”

Germany has prided itself on a consensus-based economic model in which workers have considerable input in company decisions, providing a broad safety net for the most disadvantaged members of society.

Meanwhile another conservative German leader, Christian Wulff, slammed the “moral deficit” which he said was highlighted by the Deutsche Telekom affair.

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