Berlin - Two of Germany's biggest internet service providers say they will encrypt customers' emails by default following reports that the US National Security Agency monitors international electronic communications.
Deutsche Telekom and United Internet say emails sent by their customers will be automatically encrypted starting on Friday.
Initially the encryption will only be secure between customers of Deutsche Telekom's T-Online service and United Internet's GMX and WEB.DE services.
The companies claim these three providers account for two-thirds of primary e-mail addresses in Germany.
Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann says the initiative came because "Germans are deeply unsettled by the latest reports on the potential interception of communication data" revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
It wasn't immediately clear if German security services would have a key to decrypt the e-mails.