Photo Gallery NSA Documentation of Spying in Germany

Part of the archive of classified National Security Agency documents attained by whistleblower Edward Snowden, these internal NSA images show how the American intelligence service collects data originating in Germany and several of its European neighbors.
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A so-called "Global Heat" view from the NSA program Boundless Informant, the existence of which was first made public by Britain's Guardian newspaper. According to internal NSA documents seen by SPIEGEL journalists, it is an elaborate new system that allows the NSA to visually track their current data collection possibilities practically in real time. The color-coding, which varies according to time and evaluation, ranges from green (least intensively monitored) to yellow to orange to red. In January 2013, the most monitored countries were -- not surprisingly -- Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Germany came up yellow for the same time period and type of evaluation, signifying relatively high accessibility.

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Published here for the first time, this Boundless Informant display shows monitoring possibilities in Germany for the period between Dec. 10, 2012 and Jan. 8, 2013. Blue signifies "Digital Network Intelligence," or DNI, data that comes from the Internet, as well as from "private digital networks." Green signifies "Dialed Number Recognition," or DNR, the capacity to track certain phone numbers. When a tracked phone number receives a hit, the communication is recorded.

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Most Volume: The codes US-987LA and US-987LB signify so-called "Sigint Activity Designators," or SIGADs for short -- they are codes for data collection points or data collection programs. Within the parts of the Snowden archives that SPIEGEL has been able to view, there is no clear classification for these two codes, but there is an interesting detail that calls for further inquiry. According to the Snowden documents, the NSA also contracts out SIGADs for the technical surveillance activities of so-called "third parties." The 987 series, for instance, should be included in the category of "third party SIGADs." The NSA usually designates countries as third parties, as well. Germany belongs to this category, but also neighbors such as France, Austria, Denmark, Belgium and Poland. To find out where the metadata out of Germany that the NSA claims to have access to is originating, one essential question has to be answered: Who or what is behind the codes US-987LA and US-987LB?

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XKeyscore: From the more than 500 million data connections to which the NSA has access every month, around 182 million of them are collected with the spying tool XKeyscore. A week ago, SPIEGEL reported on the wide-reaching surveillance capabilities NSA analysts have through the system, based on a classified NSA presentation. The program also enables a "full take" of all unfiltered data over a period of several days -- meaning, not just metadata but also the content of online communications. The gathering of hundreds of millions of Germany-related data connections does not mean that all of the data will be analyzed and evaluated by means of XKeyscore. According to the NSA, this happens on a case-by-case basis.
Lopers: As explained in NSA documents, Lopers is a system that allows the agency to spy on telecommunications. It is purely software-based and applicable to traditional telephone networks ("Public Switched Telephone Network").
Juggernaut: This system picks up signals from mobile networks, including vocal telephone communication, fax, data and text messages.

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In order to put the figures for Germany in context, information for Spain and Italy during the same time period has been included.

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The Netherlands and France were also included as a basis for comparison.

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