NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss

N.S.A. investigative committee of the Bundestag, which began meeting on 03 Apr 2014.

The committee’s chair is Clemens Binninger (C.D.U.), a former policeman.

It is tasking itself with investigating the involvement of German police and intelligence agencies—domestic, foreign and military—in the massive spying on people and companies that is now known to have been done by the U.S. and U.K. governments and their contractors.

Also it will now be investigating Germany’s culpability in the U.S.’s drone wars. Since the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) reported that the U.S. is using its Ramstein airbase inside Germany to support drone attacks in Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan, violating international law while killing hundreds of civilians, Germany’s government (C.D.U./C.S.U. + S.P.D.) can no longer pretend they don’t know this is happening.

The committee repeated that they would like Edward Snowden and other informed whistleblowers to give statements and answer questions for these Bundestag inquiries. Journalists repeated that the whole world will be watching this inquiry to see what the committee discovers and which stones they leave unturned.

Update on 09 Apr 2014: Clemens Binninger stepped down as chair of the N.S.A. investigative committee after only six days. He said he was resigning from the position because he felt people from the opposition parties were too interested in hearing from N.S.A. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Update on 10 Jul 2014: A Spiegel article about Germans’ angry responses to spying by the U.S. mentioned that Clemens Binninger is chairing the Parlamentarisches Kontrollgremium, the secret Bundestag committee supposed to monitor Germany’s intelligence agencies.

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Schwachstellen in Sicherheitsprodukte einbauen

“Building in vulnerabilities in security products,” one of several methods the N.S.A. and G.C.H.Q. used to unlock encryption methods previously thought secure, according to the Guardian.co.uk, NYTimes.com and ProPublica.org. When the Canadian company BlackBerry updated its encryption in 2009, for example, the N.S.A. cracked it in mere months, according to a Spiegel.de article headlined “Champagne!

These two large agencies and their partners in e.g. the Five Eyes alliance have also been benefiting from encryption cracking via supercomputers, targeted hacking committees, strange U.S. letters and court orders that forbid the ordered from ever mentioning the order, an N.S.A. Computer Solutions Center that “provided security testing” for tech products, subversion of international security standards used by developers but especially persuasion of tech companies, whose names remain most secret.

Tagesschau.de reported on 06 Sep 2013 that the “Bankenverband“—the name indicates an association of banks but the reporter did not define it more specifically—announced that N.S.A. employees and contractors can only view Germans’ online banking but cannot transfer money out of (“plunder”) their accounts. German consumers will not be reassured by this.

Brazil’s TV Globo on 08 Sep 2013 added to the list of snooped targets the international S.W.I.F.T. bank transfer network, the closed computer networks of “airlines, foreign governments, power companies and financial institutions” and the state-owned Brazilian oil company Petrobras, increasing fears of industrial espionage by the U.S.A. and its allies.

The Guardian.co.uk article on the targeted placement of back doors into encryption software was very angry about how vulnerable to criminals this makes everyone (called “the consumer and other adversaries” in one Snowden trove document). Weakening software causes people to commit crimes who wouldn’t normally have done so.

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