01:34 GMT +321 February 2017
    Chairman of Hesse's Pirate Party Volker Berkhout wears a hat with mock surveillance cameras during a demonstration against spying activities of the US intelligence agency NSA and its German partner service BND in Frankfurt am Main, central Germany, on May 30, 2015

    Spy Swapping: Backlash at Latest German, US Data Sharing Leak

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    US-Germany spy row (12)

    German spies traded data for surveillance software from their US counterparts, according to new documents obtained by Zeit Online and Die Zeit.

    It all started back in 2011 when US National Security Agency (NSA) demonstrated the XKeyscore software to Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).

    The ability to identify email addresses, phone numbers and passwords impressed the BfV who fancied the software for themselves so struck a deal with XKeyscore to exchange data for computer software. A document called "Terms of Reference" was subsequently produced detailing the agreement.

    Two years later, the "Terms of Reference" document has been scrutinized by German media. According to Die Zeit, the document said: "The BfV will: To the maximum extent possible share all data relevant to NSA's mission". 

    Die Zeit also reports that being given the software by the NSA was "proof of trust". Another agent said XKeyscore was a "cool system".

    But the data sent back to the NSA in exchange remains unknown and unaudited outside BfV circles, which has caused further frustrations for German politicians.

    "Once again, I have to learn from the press of a new BfV-NSA contract and of the impermissible transfer of data to the US secret service", Green Party parliamentarian Hans-Christian Strobele told Die Zeit.  

    The existence of the surveillance software and its potential for security agencies to sift through swathes of internet metadata, collecting intricate details of certain targets' conversations was initially revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. 

    Controversial communication between the NSA and the BfV reveals that the NSA put pressure on Germany to use the software "productively" to provide "working results" for American spies. Meanwhile the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution says that it operated within the law.

    US-Germany spy row (12)


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    scandal, spy, National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, Germany, United States
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      Should be investigated by non governmental institution, so to be as neutral as possible so the answer to the investigation can be trusted. Because the government will tell you lies at all times they see necessary to do what they want outside of the law. We have all been had before!
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      teddy jin reply tomargaridaoulman(Show commentHide comment)
      margaridaoulman, WHICH OF COURSE -- will never be allowed by the DARK LORDS of washington. we are talking here -- after all - of MORDOR AND THE EYES OF SAURON...why would THEY allow a real investigation of how MORDOR operates?..
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