Are there spy agencies for children

America's super secret service for global internet and telephone surveillance does not have such a good communication these days. Europeans, but also Americans, have doubts about the legality and effectiveness of the National Security Agency (NSA) 's mania for data collection. It should not be very inconvenient for the US foreign intelligence service when, in recent weeks, in relevant blogs and websites, an at first glance rather harmless page of the espionage agency became an issue: The eavesdroppers love kids, at least they have them for children and young people set up a website with the unbelievably cool name "CryptoKids".

Nine comic stuffed animals populate the site. CryptoCat is the boss of the gang, DecipherDog (deciphering dog) her best buddy. And then there is Sam, the eagle in camouflage, or the CyberTwins Cy and Cyndie, snow leopards with a hands-free system in plush ears, whose dad is a computer specialist in the US Army. They are all kids as America's parents could only wish for: totally inquisitive, smart on their computers and super patriotic.

What the bad guys are up to

The CryptoKids are - the name says it all - about cryptology, that is, about "developing and cracking codes", as it is harmlessly called on the website. You could also say: It's about electronic data sniffing and cyber espionage. "The leaders of our nation and our soldiers rely on the information they get from the NSA," reads on. Without the secret services, "they couldn't figure out what the bad guys are up to." With the CryptoKids, the world of surveillance is still okay.

But however wacky the website of the secret service (which was set up in 2005) may appear, it is certainly not an isolated case. The CIA also has its own "Kids Zone", the US Marshals have put a quiz for the youngsters online ("Who was the first President of the United States?"), And Special Agent Bobby Bureau leads the juniors in the FBI the art of fighting crime.

At the NSA, in addition to image cultivation, the site has a very mundane background: The secret service is the largest employer for mathematicians in the USA - and is worried about the offspring. The service is "extremely dependent on a continuous training of American one-a-mathematicians," it says to justify the children's side. It is simply supposed to recruit math-gifted US kids for the espionage service: "It's never too early to think about it," warns the NSA, "what you want to do when you grow up."

© SZ from 07/11/2013 / jasch / rus