Switzerland to probe claims it was spied on by US, German agencies

SwisscomThe office of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor has launched an investigation into claims that the country’s largest telecommunications provider was spied on by a consortium of German and American intelligence agencies. The spy project was reportedly a secret collaboration between Germany’s BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) and America’s National Security Agency (NSA). According to Austrian politician Peter Pilz, who made the allegations on Wednesday, the BND-NSA collaboration was codenamed EIKONAL and was active from 2005 to 2008. Speaking during a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, Pilz said many European phone carriers and Internet service providers were targeted by the two agencies.

Among EIKONAL’s targets, said Pilz, was Swisscom AG, Switzerland’s largest telecommunications provider and one of the successor companies to the country’s national carrier, the PTT (short for Post, Telegraph, Telephone). The government of Switzerland still retains a majority of Swisscom shares, which makes the Bern-based company the closest thing Switzerland has to a national telecommunications carrier. Under the EIKONAL agreement, the BND accessed Swisscom traffic through an interception center based in Frankfurt, Germany. From there, said Pilz, the intercepted data was transferred to a BND facility in Bad Aibling to be entered into NSA’s systems. Pilz shared numerous documents at the press conference, among them a list of key transmission lines that included nine Swisscom lines originating from Zurich and Geneva.

Switzerland’s Office of the Federal Prosecutor said on Wednesday that a criminal investigation was already underway into Peter Pilz’s claims, and that the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service was in contact with Swisscom and other actors targeted by EIKONAL. Meanwhile, Pilz refused to answer questions about where he got the documents about the alleged spy operation. He said, however, that he did not think Swisscom was aware of the BND-NSA actions against it. The company issued a statement on Wednesday saying it had “no agreements with the NSA, the BND, or any other foreign intelligence agency that permit eavesdropping” on company lines.

Author: Ian Allen | Date: 28 May 2015 | Permalink: https://intelnews.org/2015/05/28/01-1705/

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4 Responses to Switzerland to probe claims it was spied on by US, German agencies

  1. Pingback: Switzerland to probe claims it was spied on by NSA and Germany’s BND

  2. With all this naive spying going on why not put wasted resources to good use. Instead of somewhat pathetically monitoring everything every cash rich agency is doing to communication providers in foreign lands why not use the resources to nail real villains like say in FIFA and other corrupt gangs.

  3. Peter Wallerberger says:

    So True Bill – but it all depends on what is politically suitable at that point in time.

    As for the SwsissCom “revelation” – you don’t have to be a Rocket Scientist to see Edward Snowden’s signature scrawled all over Pilz’s news scoop – after all – Snowden was once based in Geneva – in his younger days.

  4. TFH says:

    Bill, I second that. Why not use spy powers to stop those killing the nature of earth, that will harms us all and will hurt our grand children.

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