Here's a cross-section of these sturdy gadgets: yes, a feat of German engineering:

 Rolladen mean business.  Americans like privacy, sort of, but their sense of privacy has a certain flexibility--it rolls up or pulls down with one gentle tug.  I can tell you from experience that rolling down the Rolladen with the cloth strap built into your window frame can take muscle, especially if you live in an old house and the Rolladen have gotten a little rusty.   And once they're down, it's dark, dark, dark amidst the blaze of noon.  But with American roller shades, you have some sense of what time of day it is. 

 What Americans don't get is that when Angela Merkel found out her private cell phone conversations were being recorded by the N.S.A., she had one of two reactions:

(1) She felt assaulted--raped would probably not be too strong a word to use.

(2) She knew perfectly well that she must have been being monitored.  She knew that a technologically advanced terrorist could use a politician's cell phone to detonate a bomb or send a secret message.  A bad guy could exploit anybody's electronic device, and would go for the one not being monitored.  But she also knew that a public relations disaster would ensue if she failed  to announce  that she felt dismayed and that this would NOT do ("das geht gar nicht!")

She must find it in exceedingly poor taste to be monitored without a formal meeting announcing that unprotected cell phones were fair game for the N.S.A.   Had she been asked, she might have acceded with alacrity.  And used her super-secure cell for private conversations.   The routine surveillance must impress her as casual, and casual, for a German, is just bad manners.  Formal friendliness remains the rule, unless you are partying with your closest friends whom you've known since kindergarten.  She remembers the days when East Germans who wanted to keep a secret sat writing out conversations, or blasted rock music while whispering in one another's ears.  Go see the award-winning 2006 film, Das Leben Der Anderen (The Lives of Others) about lives broken by surveillance in East Germany, something barely reported by American magazines at the time it was happening.  Life magazine published photos every time someone tried to cross the Berlin wall and died.  It didn't report on, for example, teachers asking elementary school students, "When your Mommy watches the news, is the clock on the right-hand or the left-hand side of the screen?"  And if the child reported the wrong side, the schoolteacher knew the family had access to Western T.V.  Lives got thrown in prison for less than that.

 Germans remain reticent.  They don't gush.  They don't spill their guts.  They don't confide unless you've known them for years, and even then, they believe that personal problems are "my problems," as a Bavarian friend told me--she would never dream of burdening her friends, and I believe she'd find it embarrassing to do so.   When I taught a class in psychoanalysis and literature, I asked my university students in a Northwestern Bundesland what they thought of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, and whether they ever considered trying it, or knew people who did.  They seemed scandalized.  Nobody goes, they insisted, or if they do, they don't talk about it, and they only go as a desperate last resort.   Freud seemed interesting because they could read him in German, but his ideas were, well, a little strange.