Interview

Snowden-Interview: Transcript

This sounds rather frightening. The question is: does the BND deliver data of Germans to the NSA?

Whether the BND does it directly or knowingly the NSA gets German data.  Whether it’s provided I can’t speak to until it’s been reported because it would be classified and I prefer that journalists make the distinctions and the decisions about what is public interest and what should be published. However, it’s no secret that every country in the world has the data of their citizens in the NSA. Millions and millions and millions of data connections from Germans going about their daily lives, talking on their cell phones, sending SMS messages, visiting websites, buying things online, all of this ends up at the NSA and it’s reasonable to suspect that the BND may be aware of it in some capacity. Now whether or not they actively provide the information I should not say.

The BND basically argues if we do this, we do this accidentally actually and our filter didn’t work.

Right so the kind of things that they’re discussing there are two things.  They’re talking about filtering of ingest which means when the NSA puts a secret server in a German telecommunications provider or they hack a German router and they divert the traffic in a manner that let’s them search through things they’re saying "if I see what I think is a German talking to another German I’ll drop it" but how do you know. You could say "well, these people are speaking the German language", "this IP address seems to be from a German company to another German company", but that’s not accurate and they wouldn’t dump all of that traffic because they’ll get people who are targetes of interest, who are actively in Germany using German communications. So realistically what’s happening is when they say there’s no spying on Germans, they don’t mean that German data isn’t being gathered, they don’t mean that records aren’t being taken or stolen, what they mean is that they’re not intentionally searching for German citizens. And that’s sort of a fingers crossed behind the back promise, it’s not reliable.

What about other European countries like Norway and Sweden for example because we have a lot of I think under water cables going through the Baltic Sea.

So this is sort of an expansion of the same idea. If the NSA isn’t collecting information on German citizens in Germany are they as soon as it leaves German borders? And the answer is "yes". Any single communication that transits the internet, the NSA may intercept at multiple points, they might see it in Germany, they might see it in Sweden, they might see it in Norway or Finland, they might see it in Britain and they might see it in the United States.  Any single one of these places that a German communication crosses it’ll be ingested and added to the database.

So let’s come to our southern European neighbours then. What about Italy, what about France, what about Spain?

It’s the same deal worldwide.

Does the NSA spy on Siemens, on Mercedes, on other successful German companies for example, to prevail, to have the advantage of knowing what is going on in a scientific and economic world.

I don’t want to pre-empt the editorial decisions of journalists but what I will say is there’s no question that the US is engaged in economic spying. 

If there’s information at Siemens that they think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security of the United States, they’ll go after that information and they’ll take it.

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Monitor zeigt Edward Snowden beim Interview mit dem NDR. Januar 2014. © Knut Sodemann
 
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