Heute hat Glenn Greenwald sein Buch No Place to Hide (deutsch: Die globale Überwachung) in Berlin vorgestellt. Wir haben die Gelegenheit für ein Interview genutzt und sprechen mit ihm über die Ansicht der Bundersregierung, die deutsch-amerikanischen Beziehungen seien wichtiger als das Thema NSA, die Enthüllungen als Machbarkeitsstudie für andere Staaten und die Gefahr einer Abstumpfung und Gewöhnung an die globale Überwachung:
Update: Dank Elisabeth Pohl haben wir jezt auch ein Transkript:
Andre Meister: Welcome to Netzpolitik TV. Our guest today is Glenn Greenwald, who I do not have to introduce. Welcome to Germany, Glenn. We’re in a country that is a top surveillance target, as we have known from your work. Actually Germany is the most surveilled country in the European Union, as we have heard from “Boundless Informant” slides. Even without “Merkel-phone” the NSA is extraditing about 60 million meta-data on a given day. But politics seem to be doing nothing, German politics. We have a little parliamentary investigative committee, but that’s not government, that’s parliament. Actually Merkel has been to the US two weeks ago – she didn’t really say anything. Our minister of interior has just been to Washington and he actually said: „The German-US relationships are more important than the NSA topic.“ What’s your response to that?
Glenn Greenwald: I think that’s pretty accurate in terms of expressing the view of the German government. Which is that the US and German governments have all sorts of important ties: economically, diplomatically, trade, even militarily. And the, I think, European leader’s history in general has been one of extreme subservience to the United States, trying to preserve good relationships with the US at all cost, even the cost of their national sovereignty and their dignity. So the revelations that the US government is prying into the personal communications of tens of millions of Germans and including targeting the personal communications of the German chancellor herself should spark genuine outrage of a type that in Brazil, for example, we saw, where the Brazilian president canceled the state dinner with the US and denounced the US vehemently from the UN. It has genuinely damaged relationships between these two countries. That is because Brazil is really intent on establishing that they are a independent sovereign country that has national dignity. That doesn’t seem to be a priority for the German government.
Andre: Actually, on this trip the German, the minister of interior announced new surveillance capabilities of the BND, the German secret service, and new data sharing plans with the NSA. Do you see a danger that some services out there take the revelations and take them as a blueprint for what they want to do themselves?
Glenn: I’m not sure it takes them as a blueprint. Because we have been careful not to publish things that will enable other states to improve their surveillance capabilities. That has been one of the conflicts we’ve had. How do you disclose information that helps people defend against surveillance without helping other states improve their surveillance? We’ve kind of had a struggle on that question. Yeah, I think what it really has done is, in some sense, normalize the idea that states are engaged in this kind of invasive electronic surveillance. And that may actually end up helping other countries, that want to do it, to be able to do it more easily. That it’s not quite so shocking to people, that it’s being done. Now that we know, how much the NSA is doing it.
Andre: It’s been almost a year since the first reports on, I think, the wireless carrier stories and then Snowden’s going public. We do feel like there is a decline in public interest. And also some media are already telling us, that people are not interested as much any more. Do you see a danger like that? And what can we do against it?
Glenn: Yeah. I mean, of course we’ve been aware from the very beginning about the need to engage the public and keep public interest high. But, you know, this is how things always play out. I remember in the WikiLeaks story, a week after the disclosures, the US media and US government and all their various defenders announced immediately that nobody cared, that the disclosures were meaningless. Encouraging public indifference is a very significant tool, that these governments use. The reality is, that all over the world the debate on these questions and the interest in these issues is higher than they have ever been. There are reform movements, there is legislation. And is has changed the way people think, all over the world. So, of course, those who are happy with the status quo want to insist that this has changed nothing, and to declare that people no longer care. But there is so much evidence in terms of polling data and just the way politicians are responding, the fear that tech companies have. I think that you’re going to see that privacy plays a lot more important role in the competition for these customers and for users of the Internet. You know, I think there’s all different ways in which changes are happening. And the least important way is what politicians in the various national capitals decide to do in terms of enacting legislation.
Andre: You started out as a blogger. We still are at netzpolitik.org. Do you have any advice on how critical, independent – or, as you call it – adversarial journalism can be financed, if you don’t happen to have a billionaire backer?
Glenn: I have only had a media outlet, that had the backing of Pierre Omidyar, for eight months. And I’ve been finding a way to write independently for nine years. One of the ways I did it at first was by reader support. By convincing enough people, that the journalism you’re doing is unique and important and needs to be supported. And I was able to make a living overwhelmingly by relying on the donations each year of my readers. So crowd-sourcing funding is an important way to do it. Although it is limited. It can let you earn a living, but not too much else in terms of building a journalistic institution. But what happens as well is that these old media institutions are failing. And if you can establish for yourself some sort of unique presence online, where you have large numbers of Twitter followers or large numbers of readers – these old media institutions are going to be desperate to find ways to get you to work with them. And you have to negotiate, so that working with them doesn’t entail a compromise of your independence. And that was ultimately the strategy that I used. I finally moved my own blog to first Salon and then to The Guardian. But with an understanding that the same level of independence, that I had before, would continue. So I was able to exploit their platforms without letting those platforms exploit me.
Andre: Glenn, thanks very much for your courage, for the interview and for your book. We also want to give you one of our books, which we have also done on the topic. I don’t know if you know it – have a look inside. Thank you very much.
Glenn: Thanks. Keep up the great work. I know you guys are doing important work.
Andre: You keep up the good work!