“Pictures are power. The one, who got pictures knows the situation, is able to react. With that we don’t depend on the pictures of others, but have our own pictures. That is key to take the right decision.”* NSA director Michael Rogers as well as Mark Zuckerberg could have said that, I imagine. But, they didn’t. So, whose quote is it?
It was French president Hollande who proudly commented on an agreement with German defense minster von der Leyen about the “Satellite Deal”. This contract between France and Germany is about the French optical spy satellite “Composante Spatiale Optique” (CSO). Germany won’t build comparable espionage tools itself but financially supports the French program. This decision is heavily criticized for one main consequence it has: Key spying military technique won’t be controlled and lead by Germany but France.
Think about that for a moment.
Some are concerned, because we, Germany, can’t control the surveillance means by ourselves.
We don’t want to entrust a spy satellite to a member state, a state we usually name as “partner”. A partner who recently provided immediate support after a Germanwings airplane had crashed. I guess, now, you interject this incident should not be mixed up with this spying topic. Of course, it shouldn’t – like data exclusively processed for military espionage purposes should never be combined with other data, especially not for other purposes. That includes any data transfer to a so called “partner” who doesn’t (like France) abide by the same data protection directive and fundamental human rights.
Thus, stop complaining about losing power because we share surveillance knowledge within the EU and start thinking about the general effect surveillance has on privacy, on our life. It is not an adjoining European member state, and very often not a single company which creates a hazard. It is our, especially Germany’s contradictory attitude which weakens our privacy: We continuously bash companies whose services we consciously use, and in the course of that make ourself partly publicly available. But we close our eyes towards the international run for data collection based on various surveillance agreements (like SWIFT, PNR etc.) and according surveillance means controlled by foreign governmental, military and security agencies.
*Original German quote found in the newspaper Die WELT: “”Bilder”, sagte der Franzose, “sind doch eine Macht. Wer die Bilder hat, wer die Situation kennt, wer die Lage kennt, der kann handeln. Damit hängen wir nicht von den Bildern anderer ab, sondern haben unsere eigenen Bilder. Das ist eine ganz wesentliche Sache, um die richtigen Entscheidungen zu treffen.””