Germany may set up a new authority to combine its various eavesdropping operations in a purpose-built headquarters near Cologne, news organizations reported.
Does a digital era call for new spying measures?
The combined police and espionage center would be modeled on the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States or the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Britain.
Interior ministry pet project
The project is being pushed by the interior ministry, which oversees the police and domestic intelligence, the magazine Der Spiegel said in a widely cited story that was set to appear in print on Monday, May 19.
A ministry spokesman told DPA news agency that a possible merger of telecommunications surveillance was at the "consideration" stage.
Including surveillance by the 16 German states, Germany has more than 75 surveillance offices at present, the Spiegel story said.
New technology, new measures
The interior ministry is keen to take away surveillance functions from the BND foreign intelligence service, and will argue that a new authority similar to the NSA could provide foreign and domestic eavesdropping from one spot.
The system needs a revamp because modern communications are mainly digital and use sophisticated new encryption methods, creating a risk that police and intelligence services could be unable to crack the codes, according to Der Spiegel.