"The German Federation of Journalists recommends journalists to avoid until further notice the use of search engines and e-mail services from Google and Yahoo for their research and digital communication," the union said in a statement.
It cited "scandalous" reports of interception of both companies' web traffic by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain's GCHQ.
"The searches made by journalists are just as confidential as the contact details of their sources and the contents of their communication with them," said Michael Konken, head of the union which represents about 38,000 journalists. He said there were safe alternatives for both searches and email.
And while in the US having one's dirty laundry is almost perceived as a status symbol by a culture that encourages online exhibitionism via Facebook and other social media (so what if some bureaucrat in Virginia knows more than what is public), in Germany privacy is actually taken seriouysly.