Germany: Email providers 'seen as surveillance safe haven'

Ralph Dommermuth, left, of United Internetand Rene Obermann, of Deutsche Telekom, promoting German email providers in August 2013

Web users are turning to German email providers to avoid US state surveillance, it seems.

Telecoms firm Freenet has reported an 80% increase in new users in the last three weeks, while web hosting company 1&1 says its email providers GMX and have seen a six-figure increase, reports Der Spiegel. It comes after leaks by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was able to receive emails and social networking information from US-based tech firms. Court documents last week revealed the NSA was accessing 56,000 such emails per year.

"The increased interest in German email providers may be linked to a recent push to promote the country's data networks as some of the most secure in the world," reckons Der Spiegel. It says Deutsche Telekom is among those trying to cash in, recently introducing new security measures making sure that email travelling between three of its services never leave local servers. The firm also notifies users when they're about to email someone whose address does not fall under the programme's protections.

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