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German politicians agree on anti-spying measures

 
 
 
 
 
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses her mobile phone before a 2011 meeting at a European Union summit in Brussels.

German politicians have agreed on measures to keep their internal communications safe in light of the recent reports about spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) on top German officials.

On Thursday, the interior ministry of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their Social Democratic Party (SPD) counterparts, currently in coalition negotiations over forming Germany’s next government, agreed on “urgent” guidelines for ministers’ and top ranking officials’ mobile phones, The Local reported.

The guidelines require the new government politicians to make calls only on encrypted phones, meaning mobiles which are not protected will become the exception.

The guidelines also ban the use iPhones for official correspondence, so Apple products will start disappearing from the German parliament.

The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has said that discussing official correspondence should only be conducted on phones approved by BSI.

In October, Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, leaked top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

The NSA scandal took even broader dimensions when Snowden revealed information about its espionage activities targeting friendly countries and their leaders, which included bugging German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone for a decade.

Documents leaked by Snowden showed Britain has also been operating a covert listening post within a stone’s throw of Germany’s parliament, and Merkel’s offices in the Chancellery, using hi-tech equipment housed on the embassy roof.

The revelations prompted Brazil and Germany to draft a UN General Assembly resolution aimed at restraining the NSA’s surveillance programs against other nations.

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