VIENNA/BRUSSELS, June 7 (Reuters) – Europeans reacted
angrily on Friday to revelations that U.S. authorities had
tapped the servers of internet companies for personal data,
saying they confirmed their worst fears about American Web
giants and showed tighter regulations were needed.
The Washington Post and the Guardian aroused outrage with
reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI had
accessed central servers of Google, Facebook and
others and gathered millions of phone users’ data.
Europe, which lacks internet giants of its own, has long yearned to contain the power of the U.S. titans that dominate the Web, and privacy-focused Germany was quick to condemn their co-operation with the U.S. security services.
“The U.S. government must provide clarity regarding these
monstrous allegations of total monitoring of various
telecommunications and Internet services,” said Peter Schaar,
German data protection and freedom of information commissioner.
“Statements from the U.S. government that the monitoring was
not aimed at U.S. citizens but only against persons outside the
United States do not reassure me at all.”
The Post said the secret programme involving the internet
companies, code-named PRISM and established under President
George W. Bush, had seen “exponential growth” during the past
several years under Barack Obama.
The Euros would doubtless like to be able to mine their own citizens’ data on the same level that the U.S.S.A. practices, but they don’t want the U.S.S.A. doing it to them.
Which means they will increase their efforts to block such monitoring. Which will have the effect of limiting the effectiveness of the American programs. There is something to be said for the notion that every tyranny unavoidably contains the seeds of its own destruction.