NSA spying roundup: World leaders’ phone calls, Germany reaction, rally in Washington

There’s plenty to round up regarding NSA spying today:

• The latest revelation from the Edward Snowden leaks: The NSA monitored phone calls of 35 world leaders with the help of U.S. officials who handed over their phone numbers, according to the Guardian. In a 2006 memo, the National Security Agency said that although some of the phone numbers were publicly available, the help from U.S. officials, including one who provided 200 numbers, enabled the agency to “task” the 35 world leaders for surveillance.

The Guardian report follows a report by Germany’s Der Speigel last week  that the United States had spied on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. This of course puts the Obama administration in a tight spot even as says it is not currently spying on Merkel’s phone, and that it won’t do so in the future.

• Speaking of Germany, the reported spying on Merkel puts into the spotlight a proposal by state-backed Deutsche Telekom to build a service that supposedly would shield German Web surfing from foreign spy agencies. It’s an example of how other countries are reacting to the revelations of mass NSA surveillance: by attempting to take greater control of the Internet.  As we’ve mentioned before, some are worried this whole saga will deal a blow to the Internet’s open nature.

• Stopwatching.us, a coalition of now more than 100 civil liberties groups and others formed over the summer after the first reports of the scope of NSA surveillance, is holding a rally in Washington tomorrow.  Saturday is also the 12th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act, which enabled some of the surveillance programs that still exist or have evolved into what’s being done today.

Ahead of the rally, the Electronic Frontier Foundation this week released a video featuring celebrities, politicians and whistleblowers as they call for an end to the mass spying.

Photo at top: German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the European Union Council building in Brussels. (AFP/Getty Images)


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