After the revelations that the NSA has infiltrated traffic into Google and Yahoo’s data centres, German journalists have been advised to stop using their services.
According to Reuters
, the German Federation of Journalists trade union has recommended journalists avoid the use of search engines and email services from Google and Yahoo for their research and digital communication until further notice.
The union said in a statement that “searches made by journalists are just as confidential as the contact details of their sources and the contents of their communication with them,” with Michael Konken, head of the union which represents about 38,000 journalists, saying that there were safe alternatives for both searches and email.
Reports emerged yesterday that the American search giants’ traffic had been intercepted by the NSA, when fibre-optic cables connecting Google’s and Yahoo’s overseas servers were tapped. The revelation by whistle blower Edward Snowden was that GCHQ and the NSA stirred a response from both Google and Yahoo, who said that they were unaware of government accessing of their data links and had not cooperated with any government agency for such interception.
The revelations were initially published by the Washington Post
, who said that the NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from internal Yahoo and Google networks to data warehouses at the agency’s headquarters in Maryland, with 181 million new records processed in a month. These would indicate who sent or received emails and when, as well as content such as text, audio and video.
The NSA said that it was focused on “foreign” intelligence collection and denied that it collects “vast quantities” of Americans’ data using that method, according to the New York Times
The NY Times also reported that NSA director general Keith Alexander flatly denied the story as “factually inaccurate,” but it was not clear that he understood that The Post was reporting infiltration of data links between overseas servers.