GERMAN CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel is backing European data transfers that avoid the United Kingdom and the United States.
Merkel wants to discuss the idea with French President Hollande, and revealed her plans in a podcast this past weekend.
This is not the first time that the German chancellor has reacted to whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations about communications surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ). She expressed shocked surprise and disappointment at reports that the NSA monitored her personal phone calls for the best part of a decade.
Last summer she was considering a separate German internet, though details were vague and the proposal was deemed challenging.
Now, months later, more details about the locked down German network have appeared. In a podcast Merkel, who has been not been keen on data going anywhere near America for some time, talked about web firms like Google and Facebook and their decisions to host information in countries with lax data protection policies.
"We'll talk with France about how we can maintain a high level of data protection," Merkel said.
"Above all, we'll talk about European providers that offer security for our citizens, so that one shouldn't have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic. Rather, one could build up a communication network inside Europe."
Speaking to Reuters, French President Hollande's advisors expressed interest. "Now that the German government is formed, it is important that we take up the initiative together," said a French government official.
The NSA allegedly intercepted the communications of 35 world leaders, and reports have suggested that US President Obama has known about this for at least three years.
In October Claude Moraes, the Labour MEP for London and spokesperson for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament for Home Affairs and Justice, suggested that the existing Safe Harbour relationship with the US should be suspended. µ