FRANKFURT Oct 12 Germany's biggest telecoms
operator is pushing to shield local internet traffic from
foreign spies by routing it only through domestic connections,
Deutsche Telekom said on Saturday.
Public outrage followed revelations that U.S. spy programmes
had accessed the private messages of German citizens. Deutsche
Telekom had already said it would only channel local email
traffic through servers within Germany.
The company aims to agree with other internet providers that
any data being transmitted domestically would not leave German
borders, a Deutsche Telekom spokesman said.
"In a next step, this initiative could be expanded to the
Schengen area," the spokesman said, referring to the group of 26
European countries - excluding Britain - that have abandoned
Revelations of snooping by the secret services of the United
States and Britain were based on documents leaked by fugitive
former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. News
magazine Der Spiegel reported in June that the United States
taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in
Germany in a typical month.
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.
One of Deutsche Telekom's competitors, internet service
provider QSC, had questioned the feasibility of its
plan to shield internet traffic, saying it was not possible to
determine clearly whether data was being routed nationally or
internationally, WirtschaftsWoche magazine reported.
Other providers, including Vodafone and Telefonica
, are currently considering whether they want to join
Deutsche Telekom's initiative, it reported.
Vodafone, Telefonica's German unit and QSC were not
immediately available for comment.