Feeds

Angela Merkel: Let US spies keep their internet. The EU will build its own

German Chancellor will talk data networks and privacy with Hollande this week

Intelligent flash storage arrays

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has lent her support to the idea of building out new European data networks to help keep Europeans' email and other data out of the hands of US spies.

In the latest edition of her weekly podcast on Saturday, Merkel said she planned to raise the issue among other topics in a meeting with French President François Hollande this week.

"We'll talk, above all, about which European suppliers we have that provide security for the citizens," Merkel said, speaking in German, "that they need not cross the Atlantic with their emails and other things, but we can also build communications networks within Europe."

The extent to which European communications are monitored by the US has come under greater scrutiny, in light of documents exposed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Perhaps the most damning news for Germans was the revelation that Merkel's own BlackBerry had been tapped by US spies, an action the chancellor condemned as "completely unacceptable."

In January, the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee issued a report in which it questioned whether US surveillance activities were really about fighting terrorism, as US officials have claimed, suggesting instead that they were tools for "political and economic espionage."

The report recommended the construction of a European data storage network to help protect EU citizens' data, and it also called for greater scrutiny of the data privacy practices of American internet companies, such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

A group of EU agencies issued new guidance on data protection earlier this month, but its recommendations were non-binding.

During her Saturday podcast, Merkel said that work to develop binding EU privacy rules is ongoing, but that arriving at a single standard that would apply to every member nation was a challenge.

"At the moment, negotiations are under way for a so-called privacy regulation, that is, a uniform standard of data protection in Europe," Merkel said. "That's just not so easy to negotiate because some countries have less privacy than Germany, and we do not want our privacy policy to be softened."

It's also not entirely clear that a new, EU-based data network would offer Europeans significantly more protection from spying than they have now. Although the Civil Liberties Committee's report mostly focused on US activities, it also noted that France, Germany, and Sweden had all been carrying out mass surveillance programs of their own.

Merkel is scheduled to meet Hollande in Paris on Wednesday. ®

Bootnote

The comments section on this article is open again after it was accidentally closed shortly after publication.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
729 teraflops, 71,000-core Super cost just US$5,500 to build
Cloud doubters, this isn't going to be your best day
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
SAVE ME, NASA system builder, from my DEAD WORKSTATION
Anal-retentive hardware nerd in paws-on workstation crisis
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
Cray heaves out even mightier, Lustre-ous Sonexion 2000
Met Office and Los Alamos bomb boffins are apparently among its fans
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.