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German Telecom Firms Tightening Network Security In Response To NSA Surveillance

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

German telecom firms have reportedly started tightening the security of their networks to allay the fears of customers unnerved by NSA’s and GCHQ’s surveillance practices. As per a report published by Wall Street Journal, at least two communication providers from the country (Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone), have now taken significant steps to ensure the privacy of their customers. The move would go a long way in reestablishing trust between consumers and German Telecom companies who have been accused of being hand in glove with the intelligence agencies and obliging to even borderline illegal surveillance demands made by the government.

German citizens, just like their American counterparts, treasure their privacy and would spare no effort in order to protect it. The revelations made by the former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden regarding the surveillance practices of NSA and members of Five Eyes alliance countries have spooked privacy conscious Germans and has led to debates, soul-searching and search for solutions that provide protection from the invasive surveillance. And since the country’s own surveillance agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) was found to be co-operating with NSA and spying on Germans through a legal loophole (as reported by us here – https://vpncoupons.com/germanys-intelligence-agency-uses-legal-loophole-spy-citizens/), the trust between citizens and institutions (whether state owned or private) has dropped to an all-time low.

The trust deficit has forced some German telecom firms to do their bit to reassure their customers. Deutsche Telekom, which announced the creation of surveillance proof mobile security software SimKo few months back, has now said that it has started keeping all domestic internet traffic within the country’s borders to avoid interception by foreign intelligence agencies. The firm now relies on shortest possible routing method to channel its traffic which ensures that the data packets remain within the country when both the sender and recipient is from Germany. Not only that, the networking technology used by the company even ensures that online traffic remains within European borders when the source request is from Germany but the destination is outside the country but within Europe.

Deutsche Telekom has also stated that it sources all of its equipment from few trusted suppliers to ensure that there are no backdoors built within them. The corporation has even formed an alliance with United Internet and Freenet to ensure that the emails sent between them is always encrypted. Moreover, the firm is developing privacy enhancing features for Mozilla’s mobile OS Firefox.

Vodafone, on its part, has announced the launch of a mobile app which will fully encrypt the calls made through the device on which the app is installed. As of now, the app is only available to the company’s corporate customers but the company may launch it for domestic users as well.

In addition to Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, many companies are doing their bit to protect consumer privacy. For instance, Deutsche Post released a fully encrypted messaging service last year while the startup company Protonet has developed an encrypted personal cloud service. This clearly shows that German telecom firms as well as online companies are finally taking the privacy of their customers seriously.

April 28, 2015

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