Tapping the German Chancellor's Cell Phone and Public International Law
Bonn Research Papers on Public International Law No 3A/2013
7 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 11, 2013
Die deutsche Version dieses Artikels finden Sie unter: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2347941 "Das Abhören des Kanzlerhandys und das Völkerrecht"
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been outraged over allegations that the NSA monitored her personal cell phone. This brief paper examines whether the United States violated any rules of public international law when tapping the Chancellor's cell phone. It concludes that tapping a foreign leader's cell phone constitutes an act of espionage in peacetime and as such is generally lawful under international law unless conduced from embassy premises or military bases in the territory of the foreign leader's State. The paper questions whether the conclusion of so-called "no spy agreements" is either practical or expedient and cautions against the conclusion of such agreements even among "friends".
Keywords: Espionage, international law, Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, No Spy Agreements, German-US Spy Row
JEL Classification: None
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation