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Revelations about the NSA’s online spying operations are especially sensitive for German citizens.
Thousands of Germans are expected to join together Saturday in a massive, multi-city protest against U.S. spying.
Germans, in particular, have been on edge since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked a host of classified agency documents in June. Among his revelations are that German citizens are more scrutinized than any other nationality, and that the NSA is “in bed with the Germans.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended the alliance between the two countries’ intelligence-gathering operations, telling the German paper Der Zeit that “For decades, intelligence services have been working together under certain conditions that are tightly regulated in our country, and this serves our security.”
In the aftermath of Snowden’s revelations, U.S President Barack Obama and numerous high-ranking intelligence officials went on the record with the American public to say that they weren’t collecting the actual content of Americans‘ communications, at least without a warrant.
But that did little to assure the rest of the world’s citizens that their communications that passed through American companies weren’t fair game for the NSA. That’s especially the case in light of Snowden offering proof of a program called PRISM, which taps companies like Google and Facebook for their users’ information.
The protest is united under the banner of sites called stopwatchingus.org and stop-watching-hamburg.de, not to be confused with the American site stopwatching.us. It proclaims in German that “now is the time for us to make our inner rebellion also externally visible,” and calls for “Worldwide protests against PRISM, [British program] TEMPORA, and the [NSA’s] Utah Data Center!”
“Do something, or you’ll wake up in a fascist system as your grandparents once did!” implored Michael Gleich.
Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III
A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.