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Germany blasts UK over mass monitoring of telephone calls


The German government has expressed the growing public anger of its citizens over Britain's mass programme of monitoring global phone and internet traffic and directly challenged UK ministers over the whole basis of GCHQ's Project Tempora surveillance operation.


The German justice minister, who has described the secret operation by Britain's eavesdropping agency as a catastrophe that sounded "like a Hollywood nightmare", warned UK ministers that free and democratic societies could not flourish when states shielded their actions in "a veil of secrecy".

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger sent two letters on Tuesday to the British justice secretary, Chris Grayling, and the home secretary, Theresa May, stressing the widespread concern the disclosures have triggered in Germany and demanding to know the extent to which German citizens have been targeted.

It is the first major challenge to David Cameron's government to publicly justify its mass data-trawling operation, which was revealed in documents leaked by the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

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