European firms ‘could quit US internet providers over NSA scandal’

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European firms ‘could quit US internet providers over NSA scandal’

European commission vice-president says American cloud services providers could suffer loss of business.

Neelie Kroes

Neelie Kroes, European commissioner for digital matters, who said: ‘If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now.’ Photograph: Yves Logghe/AP

European businesses are likely to abandon the services of Americaninternet providers because of the National Security Agency surveillance scandal, the European commission has warned.

Neelie Kroes, the commission vice-president who speaks on digital affairs, predicted that providers of cloud services, which allow users to store and access data on remote servers, could suffer significant loss of business if clients fear the security of their material is under threat.

The warning came as it appeared that the Americans and the Europeans were to start investigating alleged breaches of data privacy in the EU as well as US intelligence and espionage practices.

Despite threats from France to delay long-awaited EU-US negotiations on a new transatlantic free trade pact, scheduled to open in Washington on Monday, EU ambassadors in Brussels reached a consensus on Thursday to go ahead with the talks.

They could not yet agree, however, on how to respond to a US offer of parallel talks on the NSA scandal, the Prism and Tempora programmes and issues of more traditional espionage arising from reports of how US agencies bugged and tapped the offices and embassies of the EU and several member states.

Dalia Grybauskaitė, the president of Lithuania, said on Thursday that she was not seeking an apology from the Americans. Lithuania takes over the rotating six-month EU presidency this week.

While no decision had yet been taken, she said she hoped the EU-US talks on electronic surveillance would also be launched on Monday and run concurrently. Since much of the alleged US hoovering up of telephone and internet traffic in Europe is assumed to amount to commercial and industrial espionage, the two parallel sets of talks will affect one another.

Senior EU officials complain that there is no point engaging in sensitive trade talks when the other side has already eavesdropped on you and knows your negotiating position.

Grybauskaitė emphasised that the American side was keen to come clean on the dispute.

“They are open to co-operation. They are open to explain,” she said. “I never seek an apology from anyone. I seek information … We don’t want to jeopardise the strategic importance of free trade.”

Pointing to the potential fallout from the disclosures about the scale ofNSA operations in Europe, Kroes, the European commissioner for digital matters, predicted that US internet providers of cloud services could suffer major business losses.

“If businesses or governments think they might be spied on, they will have less reason to trust cloud, and it will be cloud providers who ultimately miss out. Why would you pay someone else to hold your commercial or other secrets if you suspect or know they are being shared against your wishes?” she said.

“It is often American providers that will miss out, because they are often the leaders in cloud services. If European cloud customers cannot trust the United States government, then maybe they won’t trust US cloud providers either. If I am right, there are multibillion-euro consequences for American companies. If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now.”

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the European commission and Grybauskaitė made clear they wanted the trade talks to go ahead as planned on Monday. France appeared to drop its objections despite previously insisting on guarantees that the espionage had been halted before the trade talks could start.

Grybauskaitė also voiced suspicions of a possible Russian role in the furore, pointing to Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, being stuck in Moscow at the same time as weekend revelations about US spying on Europe emerged in the runup to the trade talks.

She insisted that the espionage dispute should not be allowed to derail the trade talks but conceded that “some countries are very sensitive on this question.” The Lithuanian finance minister, Rimantas Šadžius, said: “The French have some problems.”

EU diplomats said ambassadors from the 28 member states engaged in “urgent and tricky” discussions on Thursday on how to proceed. While the European commission would lead the EU side on issues of data privacy, the talks on intelligence and espionage practices would need to be done by national governments.

It was not clear where Britain fitted into the picture since it is one of the biggest EU countries but has not been targeted by the NSA, unlike Germany or France, according to the reports, and the UK’s GCHQ has itself been collecting vast quantities of European internet and telephone data.

Kroes warned that US firms could be the biggest losers from the US government’s voracious appetite for information.

“Concerns about cloud security can easily push European policy-makers into putting security guarantees ahead of open markets, with consequences for American companies. Cloud has a lot of potential. But potential doesn’t count for much in an atmosphere of distrust.”

European officials lash out at new NSA spying report.

European officials lash out at new NSA spying report

Protestors hold posters reading 'Stasi 2.0' depicting U.S. President Barack Obama wearing headphones, in allusion of a film poster of the movie 'The Lives of Others' talking about spying and monitoring practices of the former Eastern German secret police 'Stasi', on June 18, 2013, in Berlin.

Protestors hold posters reading ‘Stasi 2.0’ depicting U.S. President Barack Obama wearing headphones, in allusion of a film poster of the movie ‘The Lives of Others’ talking about spying and monitoring practices of the former Eastern German secret police ‘Stasi’, on June 18, 2013, in Berlin. / GETTY IMAGES

BERLINA top German official accused the United States on Sunday of using “Cold War” methods against its allies, after a German magazine cited secret intelligence documents to claim that U.S. spies bugged European Union offices.

Obama to Germans: America is not “rifling” through your emails

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was responding to a report by German news weekly Der Spiegel, which claimed that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on EU offices in Washington, New York and Brussels. The magazine cited classified U.S. documents taken by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that it said it had partly seen.

“If the media reports are accurate, then this recalls the methods used by enemies during the Cold War,” Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said in a statement to The Associated Press.

“It is beyond comprehension that our friends in the United States see Europeans as enemies,” she said, calling for an “immediate and comprehensive” response from the U.S. government to the claims.

Other European officials demanded an explanation from the U.S.

“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations,” European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in a statement, according to CNN. “If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations. On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations.”

The revelations come at a particularly sensitive time for U.S.-E.U. relations, as long-awaited talks about a new trade pact are scheduled to begin next week. It is unclear how the latest report on NSA spying are going to affect them, but the trade pact has been a centerpiece of the Obama administrations diplomatic efforts in Europe for some time.

According to Der Spiegel, the NSA planted bugs in the EU’s diplomatic offices in Washington and infiltrated the building’s computer network. Similar measures were taken at the EU’s mission to the United Nations in New York, the magazine said.

Der Spiegel didn’t publish the alleged NSA documents it cited or say how it obtained access to them. But one of the report’s authors is Laura Poitras, an award-winning documentary filmmaker who interviewed Snowden while he was holed up in Hong Kong.

The magazine also didn’t specify how it learned of the NSA’s alleged eavesdropping efforts at a key EU office in Brussels. There, the NSA used secure facilities at NATO headquarters nearby to dial into telephone maintenance systems that would have allowed it to intercept senior EU officials’ calls and Internet traffic, Der Spiegel report said.

Germany was allegedly the focus of the European spying, according to The Guardian, categorising Washington’s key European ally alongside China, Iraq or Saudi Arabia in the intensity of the electronic snooping.

During a trip through Europe two weeks ago, President Obama assured an audience in Germany that America is not indiscriminately “rifling” through the emails of ordinary European citizens, describing the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs as a “circumscribed” system that has averted threats in America, Germany, and elsewhere.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger urged EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to take personal responsibility for investigating the allegations.

The United States has defended its efforts to intercept electronic communications overseas by arguing that this has helped prevent terror attacks at home and abroad.

Mario’s note:  

Every Christian should be praying today and speaking out.  Obama needs to be removed from office because his failure and incompetence has become intolerably dangerous.   He is a one man wrecking ball.  Let’s review just a partial list of things and places in the world that he has either bungled, ruined or destabilized.

1. The American Economy.

2. China.

3. Russia.

4. Israel

5. The entire Middle East

6. Latin America

7.  Last not but least Europe.

He is presently on an African Safari that costs the American People $100 million.   As far as we can tell it is primary to advance Gay causes.  The Obama presidency is indefensible.   Pray and speak out.