Hans-Georg Maasen, who heads Germany's domestic intelligence agency (the equivalent of ASIO, MI5 or the FBI), has taken to the pages of Der Spiegel to review a new book about Edward Snowden: The NSA Complex, by two Der Spiegel journalists and currently only available in German.
Below, a few choice extracts, but first a quick note that say next Monday, the Lowy Institute will be debating this topic in a lunchtime panel event featuring ABC Four Corners reporter and Julian Assange biographer Andrew Fowler, Indonesia expert Dr Greta Nabbs-Keller, political and security risk evaluation specialist Allan Behm, and myself. Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Fullilove will moderate.
The session is sold out, but we plan to hold a discussion on The Interpreter on themes emerging from the event.
And now, back to Maasen:
Criticism of our friends in Washington and London won't help to improve the situation. Instead we need to get our own houses in order. Being sloppy with your data is like leaving the front door open -- it's not just your friends who will be coming in and out of your homes, but also uninvited guests. There's no point in cursing at the thief or flogging the guard dog, especially if you kept it on a leash and muzzled at the time of the crime...
...The effect of the Snowden disclosures has been that the public has had a one-sided view of the activities of the US and Britain. There has been little reporting about similar behavior on the part of other countries. Nevertheless, there have also been positive aspects to the reporting, at least indirectly. The public debate over the NSA revelations has increased awareness of a number of problems relating to the vulnerability of the digital world to spying attempts -- from the unhesitating use of smart phones to an elementary threat to critical infrastructure.
Photo by Flickr user svennevenn.