US: EU Circumvention of NSA Spying Would Violate Trade Law

U.S. Trade representative Michael Froman (Photo: Julie C. Roth/ Flickr Creative Commons)

US: EU Circumvention of NSA Spying Would Violate Trade Law

Report from US Trade Representative charges EU-centric communications network would unfairly disadvantage US companies

Following Edward Snowden's revelations that the U.S. is spying on people and governments across the world, European Union countries have floated proposals to build a Europe-centric communications system designed to bypass NSA surveillance.

But on Friday, the top U.S. trade negotiating body charged that such a move would violate international trade law.

"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," states a report released Friday by the office of U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

The USTR takes aim at the German state-backed Deutsche Telekom for advocating laws to stop European electronics data from being routed outside the EU in a bid to protect privacy.

The report slams this approach as "draconian" and charges that it "appears to be a means of providing protectionist advantage to EU-based ICT suppliers."


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