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Germany launches probe into new NSA spying allegations

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AFP)

Germany has launched an investigation into a new case of alleged spying by the US National Security Agency, a report says .   

The probe was launched by Germany's federal prosecutors against unknown persons over "espionage activities," Germen news Magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.  

The case is centered on a spying virus called Regin which was allegedly found on the computer of the department chief at the office of Germen Chancellor Angela Merkel. The virus, found last year, permits monitoring of all data present on a infected computer.

A federal prosecution service spokeswoman told AFP on Saturday that, "We can confirm that there is an inquiry" concerning "malicious software" by the name Regin, but declined to give further details.

According to the magazine, the virus is undoubtedly linked to the NSA or even its UK equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

The latest spying incident follows an investigation into the United States’ spying on Merkel's mobile phone, which was revealed by NSA whistleblower  Edward Snowden.

The United Nations recently released a report urging governments to protect those who leak information, as they are often silenced and intimidated.

US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden(AFP)

“Countless sources and whistleblowers around the world are intimidated by officials, co-workers, and others, depriving everyone of [crucial] information,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye.

While presetting the report to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Kaye stressed the plight of US whistleblowers, especially Snowden.

“Snowden’s revelations of surveillance practices” made “a deep and lasting impact on law, policy and politics,” he said.  

The former NSA contractor fled his country to avoid espionage charges. In August 2013, Russia granted him asylum.


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