Germany Embraces Creation of European Data Networks as Shield from NSA

Sunday, February 23, 2014
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (photo: Julian Stratenschulte, AP)

Still upset over the U.S. spying on her phone, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced this week that her country would consider establishing new data networks based in Europe that could shield individuals’ private communications from National Security Agency (NSA) prying.


Merkel said her proposal would create European systems that would keep emails and other communications from passing through U.S. networks that the NSA taps into for intelligence purposes. She was especially concerned about companies such as Google and Facebook that operate in Germany but also have bases of operation in European countries that don’t have good data protections in place.


“We will, above all, discuss which European providers we have who offer security for our citizens,” Merkel said in a recent weekly podcast. “So that you don’t have to go across the Atlantic with emails and other things, but can build up communications networks also within Europe.”


She also said she intends to discuss her idea with President François Hollande of France.


At least one German company, Deutsche Telekom, has already begun looking into creating such networks to assuage German customers worried about their privacy in the wake of the leaks made public by whistleblower Edward Snowden about NSA spying overseas.


Merkel is very sensitive to the subject of government spying, having grown up in the former East Germany, where secret police routinely spied on citizens.


But she became especially alarmed after it was reported the NSA tapped into her phone and listened to her conversations for a decade.


President Barack Obama personally apologized to Merkel and promised the U.S. would no longer pry into her private communications.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Merkel Backs Plan to Keep European Data in Europe (by Alison Smale, New York Times)

Merkel, Hollande to Discuss European Communication Network Avoiding U.S. (by Erik Kirschbaum and Julien Ponthus, Reuters)

NSA Monitors the Phones of at least 35 World Leaders (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

German Chancellor Confronts Obama over Alleged NSA Monitoring of Her Cell Phone  (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)

Concerned U.S. Allies Want Privacy Guarantees in Wake of NSA Revelations (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Rudy Haugeneder 2 years ago
Now that it has been disclosed by a senior disgruntled NSA employee that the agency is spying on Germany's senior bureaucrats and business leaders, it would seem the NSA is becoming a nest of people who betray the inner workings of the agency whenever it steps out of line and listens to the dictates of leaders like Obama who seem to totally mistrust their closest friends and allies with the possible -- unlikely but possible -- exception of Israel. It is time for the United States to revamp what America's political leadership and the NSA stand for.

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