Deutsche Telekom to foreign secret services: 'Eyes off our internet!'

Summary:Germany's incumbent telco is spearheading an effort to keep local internet traffic inside the country.

In response to recent reports suggesting that foreign secret service organisations may be monitoring internet traffic in Germany, the country's incumbent telco has announced that it wants to take steps to keep domestic internet traffic within Germany's borders.

"We find it deeply frustrating that after four months we are still unaware of the extent to which foreign secret services actually monitor German internet and telephone traffic," a Deutsche Telekom spokesperson said, ostensibly referring to revelations about the NSA and PRISM .

Although the telco has not announced how it plans to shield domestic internet traffic from foreign secret services, it cited its recently-introduced 'Made in Germany' email service (which automatically encrypts customer emails with SSL, and keeps domestic email exclusively on German servers) as a start.

To keep domestic internet traffic insulated from outside eyes, Deutsche Telekom would have to forge agreements with other ISPs in the country, like Vodafone and Kabel Deutschland. Beyond that, whether the plan is even technically feasible remains unclear.

However, Deutsche Telekom has larger plans, and says that its goal to spearhead a Schengen-wide internet shield. If something like this were implemented, "secret services of countries outside this area would then find it much more difficult to access this data traffic," the Detusche Telekom spokesperson said.

Although there has been substantial media attention in the country surrounding PRISM — with some of it suggesting that the Angela Merkel-led CDU party may have been somehow involved — the issue did not particularly impact the recent national election , which saw the CDU come away with almost an absolute majority of the votes.

Even so, Deutsche Telekom is betting that consumers will vote differently with their pocketbooks. "Our industry's business model — and particularly new fields such as cloud services — depend on consumers' trust in the digital world. This trust has been dealt a huge blow," according to the telco.

Topics: Security, EU, Telcos


From the day he brought home a modem and dialed in to a local BBS in 1991, Michael has been obsessed with technology and how it enables collaboration. He has a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley, and has worked in and around the technology start-up scenes in San Francisco and Berlin.

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