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German intelligence can no longer freely spy on the world’s Internet traffic, top court rules

Fortune – “In the world of online spying, great power lies with those who can get their hands on the data flowing through the world’s Internet infrastructure. So the fact that Germany is home to one of the world’s biggest Internet exchange points—where data crosses between the networks that make up the Internet—has given a lot of power to the country’s equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency. The Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND, gets to freely sift through all the foreign traffic passing through that exchange junction in search of nuggets that can be shared with overseas partners such as the NSA. But now that power is in jeopardy, thanks to a Tuesday ruling from Germany’s constitutional court. The case was brought about by journalists who report on human rights in conflict zones. They don’t want German spies potentially identifying their sources there and sharing that information with other countries. Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled that foreigners also benefit from privacy protections under Germany’s constitution, so the surveillance conducted on them by Germany’s spy agency needs to respect their rights…”

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