German Politicians Hit Back At USTR Criticisms Of European Cloud Idea

from the well,-what-did-they-expect? dept

Last week we wrote about the USTR suggesting that any attempt by the European Union to create its own local cloud in order to minimize surveillance by the NSA would violate trade agreements. This has not gone down well with European politicians, particularly in Germany, whose Deutsche Telekom was singled out for criticism. Here’s what Bavaria’s Minister for Europe, Beate Merk, said while visiting the US, as reported by Die Welt (original in German):

“In my talks with the USTR, I’ve made it clear that our discussions of a “Schengen cloud” [that is, EU-only] has no protectionist background, but is born out of need as a consequence of the lost confidence arising from the NSA business,” Merk said to Die Welt.

“We have a duty to ensure that the data of people in the EU is safe from unrestrained access by third parties”, Merk added. If there is no offer from the US side for more data protection and data security, one is obliged “to propose one’s own ideas on this score,” underlined Merk.

She also pointed out that the EU cloud proposals were being made by commercial providers, not put in place through legislation, which means that the accusation of “protectionism” was simply incorrect. A German member of the European Parliament was even more forthright:

“The criticism of the US Trade Representative is bizarre! It seems they’ve noticed that people have finally had enough and that spying on data will no longer be tolerated.”

As Die Welt notes, thanks to the USTR’s ill-judged comments on this issue:

The “Schengen cloud” has become a stumbling block for the planned [TAFTA/TTIP] free trade agreement.

Maybe not a very serious stumbling block, but combined with differences over GMOs, hormone beef and cheese names, it’s enough to make achieving an “ambitious” agreement, along with its claimed benefits, just that bit more difficult.

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Comments on “German Politicians Hit Back At USTR Criticisms Of European Cloud Idea”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Minister Beate Merk, is correct. Bulk snooping is a safety and human rights issue. It’s the duty of elected officials to safeguard the rights of their citizens, against foreign spies.

I’m just as surprised as she is, that the USTR is threatening to use the WTO’s dispute settlement system as a blunt weapon against European human rights.

John says:

Trade agreements influencing government way

Hang on hasn’t the USTR being telling everyone that trade agreements shouldn’t stand in the way of how countries govern their people……but here we are with the “but but the trade agreement says you can’t do that” line is rolled out at the first opportunity a country does something the USA government doesn’t like.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the “Free” in FTA, means “free for the US government to tell everyone else how their country should be run”.

gorehound (profile) says:

My Government is corrupt and this is very obvious to anyone with a brain.Time for other Nations to raise their two fingers high.I may be an American but that does not mean I support this asshole Government.
US Gov lies to everyone, pushes other Nations around, screws other Citizens, feeds ultrarich schmucks, allows the hiding of taxes overseas…………….FUCK THIS GOV !

Anonymous Coward says:

Europeans should start calling this measure one related to NATIONAL (or rather EUROPEAN) SECURITY! Because having services and hardware compromised by the US spy agencies IS a security issue.

So just like US gov gets away with everything when mentioning national security – the same US Gov should STFU when Europe mentions European security.

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