In February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she’s going to talk to the President of France, Francois Hollande, about building a separate communications network for Europe so as to stop data from passing through the U.S. The U.S. has criticized such proposals and has said that they may breach international trade laws. Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said that obstructions to cross-border data flows are a serious and growing concern.
The U.S. has been heavily criticized ever since word of the NSA’s global electronic spying programs broke last summer. Documents leaked by former CIA technical analyst Edward Snowden revealed just how widespread the NSA’s clandestine spying operations are. Apparently it also spied on allies of the U.S., which weren’t exactly happy when all this came to light.
USTR also said that national-only electronic networks could end up effectively excluding or discriminating against foreign service suppliers that offer network services. It even said that proposals like the one presented by Germany’s state backed Deutsche Telekom were “draconian” and possibly crafted to give European companies advantage over their U.S. based counterparts.
It further said that any mandatory intra-EU routing of communications may raise questions about compliance with EU’s trade obligations, as far as internet enabled services are concerned. Therefore the USTR will be “carefully monitoring the development of any such proposals.”
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