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German coalition favors German-owned or open source software, aims to lock NSA out

Loek Essers | Dec. 18, 2013
Germany's new coalition government listed open source software among its IT policy priorities, and said it will take steps to protect its citizens against espionage threats from the NSA and other foreign intelligence agencies.

The agreement also dealt with security under a heading "Consequences of the NSA affair."

The coalition parties plan to keep pushing for more explanations about who spied on German citizens to what extent, and to negotiate a legally binding agreement with the U.S. to protect Germans against espionage.

Communications infrastructure also needs to be made safer, they said. They will push European telecommunications providers to encrypt communication links within the E.U. They also plan to make sure that European telecommunication providers are not allowed to forward data to foreign intelligence agencies.

The coalition will advocate for the Europe-wide introduction of a requirement for companies to report to the E.U. when they transmit the data of their customers without their consent to authorities in third countries. Besides that, it will press for the renegotiation of the E.U.-U.S. Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) Agreement and the Safe Harbor agreement on the protection of personal data.

Under the TFTP Agreement, some data from the SWIFT international bank messaging system is transmitted to U.S. authorities. More recently, it was alleged that the NSA spied on the data.

Following revelations about the NSA's spying on Internet data, the European Parliament had called for the suspension of the Safe Harbor agreement. The European Commission decided not to suspend the agreement, but instead put forward a range of proposals to strengthen it.

On Tuesday, the German Bundestag re-elected Angela Merkel as German chancellor for the third time. The inaugural meeting of the cabinet was scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. local time.

 

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