The rough German equivalent of the National Security Agency has secret arrangements with local telecom firms, providing direct access to data flowing over domestic fiber.

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel (Google Translate), the Federal Intelligence Service (known by its German acronym, BND) has taps on the major Internet exchange point in Frankfurt known as DE-CIX. On Sunday, the magazine cited a “three-page confidential letter” that was signed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office and the Ministry of the Interior.

The letter noted that the BND would also have access to data sent over 25 major German ISPs, including 1&1, Freenet, Strato, GSC, and Lambdanet Plus.

The letter was sent to ECO, the German Internet business trade group, and the magazine did not specify how it obtained this letter. Neither DE-CIX nor ECO immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment.     

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