German members of parliament have submitted a list of witnesses they want to question. Among them are big names, but also old and fake ones. This shows us how clueless and overworked they are.
On May 20, 2014, the Bundestag’s investigation committee had to submit a witness list in connection with the National Security Agency’s spying activities. Among others, those invited are Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, and Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga. Unfortunately, the invitation will not reach some of the witnesses on this list.
Pincus resigned a year ago as chairman for the game company. Don Mattrick is Zynga’s new head and is missing from the witness list. Eric Schmidt abandoned his post as the head of Google three years ago. Since April 2011, the company’s co-founder, Larry Page, has been in charge. He also cannot be found on the list.
The list is symptomatic of a parliament attempting to quickly catch up after 20 years of sleeping through the Internet boom. It is a patchwork. If the committee wants to investigate the alleged spying activities of secret agencies into the lives of German Internet users, it should invite the heads of American and European telecommunications firms since their servers and network nodes transmit many data streams, as opposed to inviting Mark Zuckerberg. He would have to invite the industry’s developers of encryption software and protection experts.
And where are the British?
If the committee were dealing with the tapping of Angela Merkel’s cellphone, representatives of the British wiretapping agencies would be important witnesses — not to mention the politically motivated hackers from all walks of life. Yet, next to the German ministers and department heads, the committee prefers to surround itself with the leading representatives of American Internet companies, even if not all of them would offer a witness statement. The list demonstrates that a lot remains to be learned and portrays a certain sense of megalomania.
At least, the committee has noticed that Steve Jobs is no longer the head of Apple. Steve Jobs’ death was reported in Tagesschau, at 8 p.m., according to good old tradition, before Google or Facebook even existed.* The news did reach the committee. Hence, his successor has now been invited as a witness.
*Editor’s note: Both Google and Facebook existed at the time of Steve Jobs’s death.