BERLIN – If Germany’s special parliamentary session on U.S. surveillance this week was any indication, European politicians are still worked up about former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks. Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that the revelations had “tested” U.S.-German relations. Green Party politician Hans-Christian Strobele urged the German leader to thank Snowden and offer him asylum for discovering that her cell phone “was probably bugged.” Merkel even got called a “scaredy-cat” for not standing up to Washington.
The criticism comes as politicians in the region—from Estonia to Germany—are calling for the European Union to create a cloud-computing infrastructure of its own to compete with American providers like Amazon, Google, and Verizon.
The idea is that if the EU has its own cloud—and what form it would take, who would build it, and where it would be based remain unclear—then member states could compel providers to abide by the EU’s (comparatively) stricter data-protection rules. It's part of a backlash against the long arm of the U.S. intelligence community that has echoes everywhere from Brazil to the United Nations.
One of the main proponents of a European cloud is EU Commission Vice President Viviane Reding, who was in Washington earlier this week to hammer out a treaty that would, if signed, assure that any EU citizens’ data stored in the United States be given the same privacy protections as U.S. citizens’ data (in the aftermath of the Snowden leaks, however, policymakers and privacy advocates in the U.S. are questioning the effectiveness of those protections).