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Monday, 07 April 2014 12:21

US fumes at Euro-net plans

Written by Nick Farrell



We can’t spy on you if you do that

The French-backed junta which overthrew its lawful government is furious that Europe is thinking of creating its own internet to stop it from spying on them. The United States slammed proposals to build a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States.

It sulked that such rules could breach international trade laws. Apparently those laws assume that the US has a right to spy on any data it likes. In its annual review of telecommunications trade barriers, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said impediments to cross-border data flows were a serious and growing concern.

"Recent proposals from countries within the European Union to create a Europe-only electronic network (dubbed a 'Schengen cloud' by advocates) or to create national-only electronic networks could potentially lead to effective exclusion or discrimination against foreign service suppliers that are directly offering network services, or dependent on them," the USTR said in the report.

Germany and France have been discussing ways to build a European network to keep data secure after the US spying scandal.

The USTR said proposals by Germany's state-backed Deutsche Telekom to bypass the United States were "draconian" and likely aimed at giving European companies an advantage over their US counterparts who will have to peddle their products with the pledge that their networks will be spied on by US spooks.

Deutsche Telekom has suggested laws to stop data traveling within continental Europe being routed via Asia or the United States and scrapping the Safe Harbour agreement that allows US companies with European-level privacy standards access to European data.

US tech companies, the leaders in an e-commerce marketplace estimated to be worth up to $8 trillion a year, are lobbying the White House to undertake reforms to calm privacy concerns and fend off digital protectionism. Unfortunately that would mean that the US would have to reign in its spooks, and we guess President Obama does not wish to end up assassinated.

Nick Farrell

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