German Chancellor calls for walled-off EU Internet

Euro suspicion over US Web dominance continues; Merkel says data protection paramount

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German Chancellor calls for walled-off EU Internet Merkel: We've got to do more for data protection in Europe. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  February 16, 2014

German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday said she would discuss with French President Francois Hollande plans for a European Internet that would allow data traffic to bypass US networks.

Merkel’s remarks closely follow reports of fresh European Commission proposals to hold international talks on removing control of principal Internet functions from the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Merkel spoke in her weekly podcast of Web giants such as Google and Facebook basing operations in territories with little data protection while continuing to do business in nations like Germany, where data protection laws are stricter.

"We'll talk with France about how we can maintain a high level of data protection," said Merkel, who visits France on Wednesday.

"Above all, we'll talk about European providers that offer security for our citizens, so that one shouldn't have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic. Rather, one could build up a communication network inside Europe."

The German public and its political leaders expressed outrage at last year’s revelations that the US National Security Agency had used widespread surveillance measures, not only against its own citizens, but against foreign nationals. US-German relations chilled starkly over news that Merkel’s private phone had been targeted.

“We've got to do more for data protection in Europe, there's no doubt about it," Merkel said.

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