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THE LOCAL MEDIA ROUND-UP

UK

‘Unlike Germany, the US is apathetic to spying’

As the data surveillance scandal unravels further and evidence of new data-tapping arises daily, Germany's press is in overdrive discussing the implications. The Local's Media Round-up delves into some of the juicy bits.

'Unlike Germany, the US is apathetic to spying'
Photo: DPA

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

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TRAVEL

What does the UK’s new ‘traffic light’ system mean for travel to Germany?

The UK government is bringing in a 'traffic light' system set of rules for travel to different countries. Here's what it could mean for travel between Germany and the UK.

What does the UK's new 'traffic light' system mean for travel to Germany?
A near empty Heathrow Airport in London in January 2021. picture alliance/dpa/ZUMA Wire | May James

Whether it’s about visiting family or taking a holiday, Brits in Germany, as well as people in the UK, are desperate to know how they can travel to and from Britain.

At present the UK rules prohibit travel out of the country for non-essential purposes, meaning holidays to Germany (and everywhere else) are not possible. Travel is only allowed for an essential reason.

However, this is set to be lifted from May 17th, and at that stage England’s ‘traffic light’ system will kick in.

This involves giving each country a designation – red, amber or green – based on data including case numbers and vaccination rates in the country.

On Friday Germany was listed as an ‘amber’ country. Although coronavirus infections are falling and vaccinations are picking up pace, numbers at the moment are still quite high.

EXPLAINED: The European countries on England’s ‘amber’ travel list and what it means

For comparison, Our World in Data shows that Germany has 210.97 daily confirmed cases per million people, while the UK has 29.9.

READ ALSO:

However, if the trend continues and numbers continue to drop in Germany in the coming weeks – it could be placed on the green list some time soon.

Not being on the green list doesn’t mean that travel isn’t allowed – it just means that people will have to quarantine and test on arrival in the UK.

Red list – arrivals have to quarantine in specially-designated quarantine hotels for 10 days. The traveller is liable for the cost of these, which is up to £1,700 (around €1,967), plus the cost of testing after arrival. A Covid test is required to enter the country. This is expected to be reserved for the highest-risk countries including India, Brazil and South Africa.

Note that it could be the case (as is currently) that anyone who’s not a British/Irish national or resident will be refused entry if they are coming from a red country.

Amber list – arrivals have to quarantine for 10 days but can do so in a location of their choice including the home of a friend or family member. Arrivals also have to pay for travel-testing kits which cost around £200 (around €232) per person. A Covid test is required to enter the country. Essentially this the regime currently in place for most arrivals.

Green list – no quarantine is necessary, but a Covid test is required to enter the country, plus another test on or before day two of their stay. 

Note that the current travel rules for entering the UK say that an antigen test meeting a certain quality standard is allowed for entry into Britain rather than only PCR tests. We don’t know if this will be allowed under the new travel rules so make sure to check the UK Government’s site before travel.

The list as published applies to England only.

The devolved nations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have not announced when they will lift travel restrictions but have not so far indicated that they intend to impose different rules to England’s.

The German travel rules

Currently Germany discourages all but essential travel within the country and abroad.

However, German states are putting together plans for reopening hotels and other overnight accommodation which signals that things are beginning to open up. 

READ ALSO:

At the moment, Germany has travel bans in place for areas deemed high risk due to mutations of coronavirus. That currently includes Brazil and India. Some people, such as German citizens are residents are exempt from the bans but have to comply with strict quarantine and testing rules.

READ MORE: What you need to know about the latest rules on travel to and from Germany

Everyone arriving in the country by plane, regardless of the risk status of the place they are travelling from, has to present a negative coronavirus test certificate no older than 48 hours before boarding.

The test must have been taken no more than 48 hours before entry (time of swabbing). Proof of the test result must be on paper or in an electronic document in English, French or German. The test result must be kept for at least 10 days after entry.

For information on test requirements have a look at this information sheet.

All entries to Germany must also register online prior to arrival by filling in your information on this site: www.einreiseanmeldung.de.

There are also strict quarantine rules for arrivals from most countries, which are set by the German state. The quarantine period typically lasts 10 or 14 days, and in some cases can be ended after a negative Covid test taken at the earliest five days into self-isolation.

You can find your local government here by entering the postcode.

We’ll let you know if and when travel rules change in Germany.

What about vaccine passports?

Neither Germany nor the UK as yet have vaccine passport systems up and running.

That means that, for the moment, even fully vaccinated people will have to abide by the testing and quarantine rules.

READ ALSO: How will the EU’s ‘Covid passport’ work for tourists in Europe?

Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice.

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