BERLIN, Aug. 9 Germany's leading telecoms
operator said on Friday it would start channeling e-mail traffic
exclusively through its domestic servers in response to public
outrage over revelations of U.S. spy programmes accessing
citizens' private messages.
Deutsche Telekom launched the "E-mail made in Germany"
initiative after a month of public indignation over reports on
intrusive U.S. snooping based on documents leaked by fugitive
former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
The spying scandal, which has filled German newspapers for
weeks, has become a major headache for Chancellor Angela Merkel
ahead of a Sept. 22 election. Government snooping is a sensitive
subject in Germany due to the heavy surveillance of citizens in
the former communist East and under Hitler's Nazis.
"The spying campaign has deeply rattled Germans," Deutsche
Telekom Chief Executive Rene Obermann said at a news
conference in Berlin on Friday to launch the initiative aiming
to make e-mail communication in Germany "more secure".
Deutsche Telekom and its partner United Internet,
which account for about two-thirds of all e-mail users in
Germany, said they would ensure the encryption of all their
The former telecommunications monopoly, in which the German
state remains the biggest investor with a 32 percent stake, said
all data processing and storage would take place in Germany.
German news magazine Der Spiegel reported in June, citing an
NSA document, that the United States taps half a billion phone
calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month.