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Germans, recently privy to news that Europe’s biggest telecommunications firm was illegally wiretapping phone calls, are recalling what life was like when East Germany’s secret police were still around:

Experts say sophisticated modern methods — involving digital data, computers and mobile phones — are a far cry from the days of the Stasi who used steaming devices to open envelopes as well as magnetic microphones and typewriters.

“But there are similarities. There is the same lack of scruples over looking into peoples’ lives — the possibility of obtaining and using the information on people,” said Staadt.

The Stasi ran a notoriously effective network of domestic and foreign agents to quash dissent and guard the Berlin Wall against would-be escapees.

Remember, Sen. John McCain wants to make sure telecom companies here in America are protected from lawsuits regarding their illegal eavesdropping – and he’s ready to keep spying if he’s elected president.

Reuters story via Laura Rozen.

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