US, UK bodies ‘spy on German operators’

US, UK bodies ‘spy on German operators’

BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
US, UK bodies ‘spy on German operators’

The logo of Deutsche Telekom is seen on a TV tower in Cologne. REUTERS photo

The U.S. National Security Agency and British intelligence services are able to secretly access data from telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom and several other German operators, according to Der Spiegel weekly, but Deutsche Telekom said it had found no indication.

The German operator said it has found no evidence  that the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ had obtained access to its computer network, but said it was investigating the matter following the report in Der Spiegel.

“We are looking into every indication of possible manipulations but have not yet found any hint of that in our investigations so far,” a Telekom spokesman said in a statement on Sept. 14. “We’re working closely with IT specialists and have also contacted German security authorities.

“It would be completely unacceptable if a foreign intelligence agency were to gain access to our network,” the spokesman added.

An NSA program called “Treasure Map” gives the U.S. agency and GCHQ near real-time information about the operators’ networks, right through to end users on computers, smartphones or tablets, Der Spiegel said in a report appeared in its yesterday’s edition.

It is the latest in a string of revelations based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Spiegel said the tracking program, which it dubbed “the Google Earth of the Internet,” can be used to plan cyber-attacks.

The magazine said it did not receive any immediate comment from the NSA or GCHQ in response to the claims.

Satellite ground station operator Stellar, which according to Spiegel was among the German firms targeted, responded angrily to the revelation. “A cyber-attack of this kind clearly violates German law,” said Stellar boss Christian Steffen, after Spiegel presented it with a GCHQ document said to contain the passwords of some of its clients.