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Germany, U.S. to negotiate agreement regarding spying concerns

August 13, 2013

The United States received a considerable amount of criticism from various nations in the wake of certain National Security Agency (NSA) domestic surveillance programs becoming public knowledge. According to The Washington Post, Germany stood among the most outspoken foreign critics of such measures. In an effort to address these issues, American and German officials are arranging to meet and come to an agreement to mutually avoid spying on each other.

The news source reported that details regarding the agreement's provisions have yet to surface - it's unclear whether they cover online spying methods or simply tracking calls, like those made using prepaid phone cards and wireless plans, or both. In particular, neither side has revealed the potential effects the detente might have on the NSA's now-infamous PRISM program, which has come under much scrutiny following leaks made by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Ronald Pofalla, chief of staff for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, revealed the negotiation plans in an Aug. 12 statement. Peter Claussen, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy, had no comment on the matter.

For her part, Merkel has taken a balanced approach to surveillance issues. While the AP stated that she discussed the topic with President Barack Obama at a meeting in June, she has also gone on record saying that governments are obligated to protect citizens against terrorism in any way possible.

According to Reuters, the Chancellor is focusing on this and a number of major domestic crises in light of her upcoming election. She currently holds a lead in the polls, but faces fierce opposition from Peer Steinbrueck, who represents Germany's Social Democratic party. She returned from vacation the week of Aug. 12 to tour the country leading up to the election and discuss subjects such as the mounting European Union debt crisis and Germany's own considerable issue of youth unemployment. 

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