NSA fears prompt Germany to end Verizon contract (Update)

The German government is ending a contract with Verizon over fears the company could be letting U.S. intelligence agencies eavesdrop on sensitive communications, officials said Thursday.

The New York-based company has for years provided Internet services to a number of government departments, although not to German security agencies, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate.

While Germany had been reconsidering those contracts for some time, they faced additional scrutiny after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of electronic eavesdropping by the U.S. intelligence agency and Britain's GCHQ.

German authorities were particularly irked by reports that the NSA had targeted Chancellor Angela Merkel. Berlin has also proposed building more secure networks in Europe to avoid having to rely on American Internet companies that manage much of the electronic traffic circulating the globe.

"There are indications that Verizon is legally required to provide certain things to the NSA, and that's one of the reasons the cooperation with Verizon won't continue," said Plate.

The current contract with Verizon will expire in 2015, he said.

The announcement follows reports this week that Verizon and British company Colt also provide Internet services to the German Parliament and to other official entities.

Verizon didn't immediately respond to emails seeking comment on Germany's decision.

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Jun 26, 2014
Yes, yes. And the British interception of Zimmerman telegram was also unlawful and unethical.

Jun 26, 2014
Good for Germany! I hope more countries follow suit.

Jun 27, 2014
All in all, I wonder how much this Snowden debacle will end up costing?

Jun 27, 2014
All in all, I wonder how much this Snowden debacle will end up costing?

Seeing as the russian government just announced that it will not purchase US made processors anymore - quite a lot.

And I don't blame 'em. If I had any sensitive data (i.e. if I were running any kind of business or government operation) I'd be running away from any kind of software or hardware that says "made in the US" (or web services with servers in the US) as fast as possible, too.

Jun 27, 2014
Agree Alfie, but Snowden is just the messenger. History has abundantly shown that one ought not shoot the messenger...

Jun 27, 2014
Hm, 8 paragraphs. And one of them has two whole sentences. It's good to be informed. [/sarc]

Jun 27, 2014
so who are you going to trust? a company that collects and sells your information to corporations? a company based in another country - where you have no chance of knowing what info they are collecting and disseminating about you? if you believe your information is completely private anywhere, I have a bridge to sell you...

Jul 04, 2014
If there were any guts in the Obama Administration, the US would immediately slap Germany with a restraint of trade case. We could levy billions of $$$ in countervailing duties on imports from Germany, thus helping the US Treasuy and American manufacturing jobs.

Unfortunately, our clowns in Washington are worried about offending our German "friends" so instead we will apologize profusely for ruffling their feathers.

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