German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during her weekly podcast that she is proposing to other European nations – most notably France – to build their own communications network to help improve data protection. Chancellor Merkel described a network that would not have to automatically pass through the United States.
Merkel's proposal is a direct result of reports that the NSA spied on her and other nations. The disclosure of that activity was part of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Chancellor Merkel is also concerned about the NSA and other governments collecting phone and Internet metadata.
In her podcast, Chancellor Merkel also criticized the fact that big companies such as Facebook and Google can be based in countries with low levels of data protection while carrying out business in nations that offer better safeguards.
"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," she said. "Rather, one could build up a communication network inside Europe."
She closed by saying that European nations have to do more to protect citizens' data. A French official tells Reuters that France does indeed plan to take up the German initiative.