Germans counterattack on US cloud claims

The US’s campaign to put the frighteners on European politicians by telling them it is against trade agreements is straightforward lying, the Germans say.

After the US was revealed to be spying on everything Europeans do, the EU decided it would be better to insist that all cloud data stays within the Old Country.

This meant that US companies would have to build local server farms and make sure that data did not leak across the Atlantic.

Clearly that did not sit well with the US IT companies who find it too expensive to set up clouds in the EU. They had been leaning on their paid for Washington sock puppets, er lobbying their local congressmen, to do something about it,

Last week the Office of the United States Trade Representative wrote a report saying that 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.”

This amounts to a shot over the bows for the EU that if it does not toe the US line it could face complaints against it in the iTC and possibly trade embargos from the US.

This has not gone down well with European politicians, particularly in Germany, whose Deutsche Telekom was singled out for criticism. After all it is one thing to spy on people, but the rules are that if you are caught doing it, you have to back off. The US on the other hand is threatening that if the EU does not submit to its spying it will suffer from a trade war.

Bavaria’s Minister for Europe, Beate Merk, said while visiting the US that in her talks with the USTR, he had made it clear that our discussions of a “Schengen cloud” had no protectionist background, but is born out of need because of the lost confidence arising from the NSA scandal.

Merk said that the EU had a duty to ensure that the data of people in the EU is safe from unrestrained access by third parties.

Since the US was not offering any more data protection and data security, the EU is obliged “to propose one’s own ideas,” she added.

Merk pointed out that the EU cloud proposals were being made by commercial providers, not put in place through legislation.

This means that it is impossible to say that it is “protectionism.”

Die Welt quoted a German member of the European Parliament as saying that the criticism of the US Trade Representative was bizarre.

“It seems they’ve noticed that people have finally had enough and that spying on data will no longer be tolerated.”

The effect of USTR’s threats will probably mean that the “Schengen cloud” has become an obstacle for the planned [TAFTA/TTIP] free trade agreement.

The agreement has a few problems already. For a start, the US is insisting that its genetically modified food, hormone beef and cheese, be allowed to poison Europeans, which the EU is not prepared to agree on either.