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Some European countries are talking about establishing a European Internet system. The US is complaining about this because the NSA spy programs won’t be able to get to them. The US Trade Representative (USTR) office says that this violates trade agreements.
US – Europe Spy Debate
The US and Europe have not been on good terms for the past several months. The NSA spy program upset several European countries. Since then, some EU member countries have been discussing way to protect their Internet. Recently, developing a closed EU system called the Schengen cloud has been on the table. France and Germany already agree that it is a good way to block NSA spy programs.
The proposed European Internet system will protect EU emails and phone conversations. Many Internet systems pass through other systems that are based in the US. With this new EU system, their communications will not be routed to where the US can intercept them. This means that NSA spy techniques will not work.
US Says EU Plan is Unfair
When the US found out about the EU Internet plan, they complained that it was not fair. The USTR office said that it violated international trade laws. US Internet companies also benefit greatly from the data that they gather from users. If the EU cuts the US off, these companies will be put in an inferior position. But the bottom line is that many of these companies share data with the NSA and other agencies. The NSA spy program would be at a greater disadvantage than any company if they were cut off.
US Internet companies can gather data from many other users. Most of them target local users anyway. And there are other means to collect European data if they need to. The costs would be greater, but it is a small price to pay for respecting freedoms. The US is arguing that the Schengen cloud will cause discrimination against US companies. The EU is coming from the standpoint that they need protection from invasive NSA spy programs.
NSA Spy Programs Break EU privacy Laws
The NSA spy programs are designed to find round-about ways to get what they want. In the case of EU data, they take it from companies that obtain it from their users. These users allow the companies to take certain types of data in exchange for services. But users do not agree to have this data collected by NSA spy programs or other US government agencies.
The US thinks that it’s perfectly fine to gather protected EU data. They do not respect EU privacy laws or the data laws of individual member countries. The EU has lost faith in the US because of NSA spying. Now they are developing their own ways of protecting themselves from the NSA spy programs. This is not unfair, but within their rights. Private companies may suffer if the EU cuts them off. But the decision is rooted in the damage caused by NSA spy programs.