Verizon Wireless retail store in Saugus, Massachusetts (Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons / Anthony92931)Germany announced Thursday it is canceling its contract with Verizon Communications over concerns about the role of U.S. telecom corporations in National Security Agency spying.
“The links revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms after the N.S.A. affair show that the German government needs a high level of security for its essential networks,” declared Germany’s Interior Ministry in a statement released Thursday.
The Ministry said it is engaging in a communications overhaul to strengthen privacy protections as part of the process of severing ties with Verizon.
The announcement follows revelations, made possible by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that Germany is a prime target of NSA spying. This includes surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone communications, as well as a vastnetwork of centers that secretly collect information across the country.
Yet, many have accused Germany of being complicit in NSA spying, in addition to being targeted by it.
The German government has refused to grant Snowden political asylum, despite his contribution to the public record about U.S. spying on Germany.
Verizon, which has provided services to many of Germany’s governmental agencies since, will be replaced by Deutsche Telekom, which was formerly run by the German state.