Germany, Spain ‘carry out mass spying’

SPY agencies in Germany, France, Spain and Sweden are carrying out mass surveillance of online and phone traffic in collaboration with Britain, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

The Guardian newspaper reports Britain’s GCHQ electronic eavesdropping centre – which has a close relationship with the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) – has taken a leading role in helping the other countries work around laws intended to limit spying.

The report is likely to prove embarrassing for governments including those of Germany and Spain, which had denounced earlier reports that the NSA was electronically spying on their citizens.

Saturday’s report said the intelligence services of the European countries, in a “loose but growing” alliance, carried out surveillance through directly tapping fibre-optic cables and through secret relationships with communications companies.

The newspaper has previously reported that GCHQ taps transatlantic fibre-optic cables.

France, Germany and Spain have reacted angrily to reports of US electronic spying, with Chancellor Angela Merkel confronting US President Barack Obama over reports that the NSA had monitored her phone for several years.

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