Germany plans to limit NSA’s access to European communications

Philipp Rösler and Angela MerkelBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
The government of Germany plans to implement a series of measures designed to limit America’s access to the communications of European citizens and institutions, according to senior German cabinet officials. The move is part of a broader German response to news in July that the United States spies on the communications of Germany and other European Union countries with the same intensity it spies on China or Iraq. The information was leaked by American defector Edward Snowden, a former computer expert for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA), who is now living in Russia. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economics and Technology, Philipp Rösler, said Germany will take action to limit NSA’s ability to spy on European Union communications traffic. The first step in the process will be to build “a strong European information technology industry which can offer alternatives” to American-owned firms that collaborate with the NSA, said Rösler. Further steps will include augmenting the security of European cloud computing processes and structures, and strengthening contacts between established information technology companies and start-up enterprises. At the same time, Germany will enter negotiations with the European Commission (the European Union’s executive arm) aimed at strengthening European data protection legislation and legally forcing the US to stop its indiscriminate surveillance of European communications networks. He added that a preliminary outline of the program will be unveiled during a government-sponsored information technology conference in Hamburg at the end of the year. Rösler concluded his statement by saying that, in the future, American companies who fail to conform to European privacy standards will be excluded from European Union contracts. Last week, Deutsche Telekom, one of Germany’s’ largest telecommunications providers, said that all email traffic carried on its network would stay on German-owned servers. Earlier this month, Germany announced the termination of a longstanding surveillance cooperation agreement with Britain and the US, in response to Snowden’s revelations.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

2 Responses to Germany plans to limit NSA’s access to European communications

  1. Merkel faces the ballot-box in one month and the NSA spying revelations are the only present and credible threat to her re-election. With the German left demonized as the legacy of STASI, the German electorate is presently a default majority conservative ‘don’t rock the boat’ mentality, largely, and all Merkel’s team need do at this point is act ‘concerned’ and as if they will do something … but those Germans I’m acquainted with (I presently live in Berlin) who are not under the hypnotic spell of ‘Ms Economic Stability’ are of the opinion Germany would simply hand over anything asked by the Americans.

    ^ This German administration is worse than any White House stonewalling Congress when it comes to blowing off parliament, they make general assurances and answer no substantive questions. Merkel’s idea of democracy is her ministers sit as a cabal of nine and make deals suitable to German industry, tanks are sold to nations with anything but stellar human rights records, such as Indonesia, in violation of German constitutional principles, and parliament is informed after the fact. But hey! It’s good for business and Germany’s economy and that is the bottom line. Step on the USA’s toes in support of German privacy? Merkel will make political assurances but in reality it’s not going to happen, the ‘don’t rock the boat’ electorate is reflected in their ‘don’t rock the boat’ leader.

    Meanwhile USA has Germany’s tail between its legs on too many issues to tally and there will be no serious resistance on this side of the pond short of a USA initiated political fukushima, would be my observation.

  2. Pete says:

    Germany talking about doing a “anti-Huawei” like boycott on US communications firms is rich in irony. However the NSA (and its GCHQ ally) for example tapping trans-Atlantic cables will still intercept a great deal of German data.

    Also German consumer preferences for US internet companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, all with servers in the US will frustrate any anti-US measures.

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