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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.