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    German Mass Surveillance 'Carried Out Virtually Unchecked' - Report

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    The German government's supervision of its intelligence services is facing further scrutiny, following an article published in Tagesspiegal which reveals a damning indictment of mass surveillance practices in Germany by the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights.

    "Democratic control of the intelligence services is practically impossible" in which "mass surveillance can be carried out virtually unchecked," states a report by the Council of Europe's Commissioner of Human Rights.

    Author Nils Muiznieks suggests that "the relationship between the number of supervisors and the number of those being supervised is particularly relevant: two committees with 13 members, supported by a small secretariat, supervise 6,000 employees at the Federal Intelligence Service (BND)."

    The G10 Commission is tasked with reviewing and authorizing government activities that breach communications data privacy. According to Muiznieks, the body is only aware of ten percent of the monitoring of communications data that is being carried out.

    Joining calls for a reform of the way the German government oversees the conduct of its intelligence service, the Council's report recommends that "any increase in budget for the intelligence services must be complemented by a corresponding increase in budget for regulatory bodies" and that all regulatory bodies should have access to any documents and information "regardless of their classification level" in order to carry out proper controls.

    Demonstrators hold a banner during a protest against the supposed surveillance by the US National Security Agency, NSA, and the German intelligence agency, BND, during a rally in front of the construction site of the new headquarters of German intelligence agency in Berlin, Germany, Monday July 29, 2013.
    © AP Photo / Gero Breloer
    Demonstrators hold a banner during a protest against the supposed surveillance by the US National Security Agency, NSA, and the German intelligence agency, BND, during a rally in front of the construction site of the new headquarters of German intelligence agency in Berlin, Germany, Monday July 29, 2013.

    Germany has remained embroiled in a row over the conduct of its intelligence services ever since it emerged that Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the US National Security Agency (NSA) access to spy on its citizens.

    The extent of the collaboration was revealed by whistleblower and former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, and included over a 1,000 pages of transcriptions of interviews between senior staff at the BND, NSA and Deutsche Telekom.

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    Tags:
    spying, mass surveillance, digital privacy, communications, data collection, leaked documents, intelligence, report, surveillance, privacy, German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Deutsche Telekom, European Commission, National Security Agency (NSA), Angela Merkel, Edward Snowden, Germany, Europe
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