German ministers quiz web firms on US surveillance

Jun 14, 2013

German ministers questioned major Internet companies on Friday about U.S. tracking of web activity, days before a visit to Berlin by President Barack Obama.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said European-based company representatives of Microsoft and Google didn't have information on the tracking program and open questions remain about the broader issue of intelligence access to user data.

Facebook sent a reply to a series of questions and Apple didn't participate in the meeting.

German ministers already are pressing Washington for information following public disclosures by contractor Edward Snowden of two NSA programs, which collected millions of and track foreign Internet activity on U.S. networks.

Chancellor plans to raise the issue with Obama when he visits Berlin next week.

The meeting was called by the justice minister and Vice Chancellor Philipp Roesler, both members of the Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in Merkel's governing coalition. Civil rights including data protection traditionally have been a key issue for the junior party.

In a statement following the meeting, said it assured the ministers that it provides user data to governments "only in accordance with the law."

"Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don't follow the correct process," spokesman Kay Overbeck said in an emailed statement. "And we refuse to participate in any program that requires us to provide governments with access to our systems or to install their equipment on our networks."

Explore further: Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU, Merkel to raise NSA program with US officials

Jun 10, 2013

Senior European Union officials will question their American counterparts about previously undisclosed U.S. surveillance programs during a trans-Atlantic ministerial meeting in Dublin starting Thursday.

Google, Facebook condemn online spying

Jun 08, 2013

Google chief Larry Page and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg condemned online spying Friday and called for governments to be more revealing about snooping on the Internet.

EU wants privacy guarantees from US amid Prism crisis

Jun 11, 2013

The EU said Tuesday it will seek a strong commitment from the United States to respect the rights of European citizens, following revelations that Washington is running a worldwide Internet surveillance programme.

Google asks to publish more US gov't information (Update)

Jun 11, 2013

Google is asking the Obama administration for permission to disclose more details about the U.S. government's demands for email and other personal information transmitted online in an effort to distance itself ...

US spy programs raise ire both home and abroad

Jun 11, 2013

The Obama administration faced fresh anger Monday at home and abroad over U.S. spy programs that track phone and Internet messages around the world in the hope of thwarting terrorist threats. But a senior ...

Recommended for you

Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry

Dec 25, 2014

Sony's "The Interview" has been a hacking target, a punchline and a political lightning rod. Now, with its release online at the same time it debuts in theaters, it has a new role: a test for a new kind of ...

Web outage hardly stirs Internet-free N. Korea: experts

Dec 24, 2014

North Korea's Internet went down this week after an apparent attack but most of its citizens will not have noticed the difference in a country that does its level best to seal off foreign influence, experts say.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.