BERLIN, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A security debate is being waged in Germany after it surfaced that authorities there had eavesdropped on reporters' telephone conversations.
According to German public broadcaster ARD, police, in a bid to prosecute suspected left-wing radicals, have listened in on conversations of two journalists with two lawyers. Apparently, the Schleswig-Holstein State Office of Criminal Investigation was commissioned by the Federal Prosecutor's Office to listen in on the journalists, who were researching political extremism.
The wiretapping measure was granted to find out more about two left-wing radicals believed to have been planning to set up a terror group to launch attacks ahead and this summer's Group of Eight summit in Germany.
Several other media outlets have also complained that their journalists were being wiretapped, calling the measure a "severe attack" on press freedom in Germany.
Yet massive telephone and Internet data storage may soon become the norm in the country: Germany's lawmakers last week approved a bill proposed by Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries that would save for six months all telecommunication data made by individuals; while the contents of phone calls and e-mails won't be stored, all information regarding who received and who sent e-mails or phone calls, as well as the exact time they occurred, will be saved on servers.
Citizen rights and press freedom groups have already announced they will challenge the bill before Germany's highest court if it actually becomes law. Before that, the upper house of Germany's Parliament and the president will have to sign off on it.