[Berlin, GERMANY] The global Echelon spy system set up by the American
secret service NSA to spy on
e-mails and telephone calls, does not seem to be a subject which worries
major German companies.
The president of the powerful Federal Association of German Industry (BDI), Hans-Olaf
Henkel, today declined to comment on questions posed by the online magazine
germany.internet.com, because of his alleged lack of competence in this
area. Henkel, who recently appeared technically competent in arguing the
case for the nuclear lobby in the German media, went on to explain that he
is not “sufficiently familiar” with Echelon.
The germany.internet.com editorial staff asked the BDI how the Echelon spy
system located in the Bavarian town of Bad Aibling could be in accordance
with friendly USA/German relations, and what the BDI intends to undertake in
this matter. The Federal Association of Economic Information,
Telecommunications and New Media (BITCOM) could not be contacted for their comment before
going to press.
Only recently, during the committee meeting for European affairs which took
place behind closed doors in the German Bundestag, the British journalist and intelligence expert
Duncan Campbell and the Brandenburg federal data protection specialist
Alexander Dix outline the state of affairs concerning the Echelon spy
Campbell and Dix confirmed the threat of the Echelon spy system to the
German economy. Duncan Campbell referred to his report for the European
parliament, in which he raises the prospect that hundreds of U.S.
Department of Commerce “success stories,” in which US companies beat off
European and Japanese commercial opposition, could be attributed to the
filtering powers of Echelon.