Germany’s domestic intelligence service wants to increase surveillance on users of social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, but stressed it would only target terrorists and extremists.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said on Thursday it will increase monitoring of communications on social networks between terrorists with a new unit which will “better evaluate” data collected online.
Under a law called G10, security services have powers to intercept and monitor communications if given approval by a judge.
The secret service stressed that the move would not lead to the mass collection of data or “untargeted measures”.
But the Süddeutsche Zeitung had reported that the BfV’s chief Hans-Georg Maaßen wanted to develop a system which collected “large amounts of online data”.
The issue is highly sensitive in Germany following anger over revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden that the US National Security Agency (NSA) tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone and was running a mass surveillance programme in Germany.