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Paul Merrell

A New Era of Mass Surveillance is Emerging Across Europe | Just Security - 0 views

  • The world was a different place when, in October 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) struck down the “Safe Harbour” data-sharing agreement that allowed the transfer of European citizens’ data to the US. The Court’s decision concluded that the indiscriminate nature of the surveillance programs carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies, exposed two years earlier by NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, had made it impossible to ensure that the personal data of E.U. citizens would be adequately protected when shared with American companies. The ruling thus served to further solidify the long-standing conventional wisdom that Continental Europe is better at protecting privacy than America.

    However, Europe’s ability to continue to take this moral high ground is rapidly declining. In recent months, and in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks across Europe, Germany, France and the United Kingdom — Europe’s biggest superpowers — have passed laws granting their surveillance agencies virtually unfettered power to conduct bulk interception of communications across Europe and beyond, with limited to no effective oversight or procedural safeguards from abuse.

Paul Merrell

Report: Germany Spied on FBI, US Companies, French Minister - 0 views

  • German public radio station rbb-Inforadio reported Wednesday that the country's foreign intelligence agency spied on the FBI and U.S. arms companies, adding to a growing list of targets among friendly nations the agency allegedly eavesdropped on.

    The station claimed that Germany's BND also spied on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the World Health Organization, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and even a German diplomat who headed an EU observer mission to Georgia from 2008 to 2011.

    It provided no source for its report, but the respected German weekly Der Spiegel also reported at the weekend that the BND targeted phone numbers and email addresses of officials in the United States, Britain, France, Switzerland, Greece, the Vatican and other European countries, as well as at international aid groups such as the Red Cross.

    The claims are particularly sensitive in Germany because the government reacted with anger two years ago to reports that the U.S. eavesdropped on German targets, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who declared at the time that "spying among friends, that's just wrong."

    German lawmakers have broadened a probe into the U.S. National Security Agency's activities in the country to include the work of the BND.

Paul Merrell

Germany's top prosecutor fired over treason probe - Yahoo News - 0 views

  • A treason investigation against two German journalists claimed its first casualty Tuesday — the country's top prosecutor who ordered the probe.
  • Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced he was seeking the dismissal of Harald Range hours after the chief federal prosecutor accused the government of interfering in his investigation.

    Maas said he made the decision in consultation with Chancellor Angela Merkel's office, indicating that the sacking was approved at the highest level.

    The Justice Ministry had questioned Range's decision to open the investigation against two journalists from the website Netzpolitik.org who had reported that Germany's domestic spy agency plans to expand surveillance of online communication.

    The treason probe was widely criticized and regarded as an embarrassment to the government. Senior officials stressed in recent days that Germany is committed to protecting press freedom.

Paul Merrell

Germany Fires Verizon Over NSA Spying - 0 views

  • Germany announced Thursday it is canceling its contract with Verizon Communications over concerns about the role of U.S. telecom corporations in National Security Agency spying.

    “The links revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms after the N.S.A. affair show that the German government needs a high level of security for its essential networks,” declared Germany’s Interior Ministry in a statement released Thursday.

    The Ministry said it is engaging in a communications overhaul to strengthen privacy protections as part of the process of severing ties with Verizon.

    The announcement follows revelations, made possible by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that Germany is a prime target of NSA spying. This includes surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone communications, as well as a vast network of centers that secretly collect information across the country.

    Yet, many have accused Germany of being complicit in NSA spying, in addition to being targeted by it.

    The German government has refused to grant Snowden political asylum, despite his contribution to the public record about U.S.

Paul Merrell

Merkel, Hollande to discuss European communication network avoiding U.S. - Yahoo News - 0 views

  • (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday she would talk to French President Francois Hollande about building up a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States.
Paul Merrell

German Parliament Says No More Software Patents | Electronic Frontier Foundation - 0 views

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    Note that an unofficial translation of the parliamentary motion is linked from the article. This adds substantially to the pressure internationally to end software patents because Germany has been the strongest defender of software patents in Europe.

    The same legal grounds would not apply in the U.S. The strongest argument for the non-patentability in the U.S., in my opinion, is that software patents embody embody both prior art and obviousness. A general purpose computer can accomplish nothing unforeseen by the prior art of the computing device. And it is impossible for software to do more than cause different sequences of bit register states to be executed. This is the province of "skilled artisans" using known methods to produce predictable results. There is a long line of Supreme Court decisions holding that an "invention" with such traits is non-patentable. I have summarized that argument with citations at
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