Merkel wants a European communications network


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed to set up an European communications network in order to improve the protection of data. During her weekly podcast, she announced that she would raise the issue when she meets the French President François Hollande on Wednesday.

Merkel signaled the fact that companies such as Facebook and Google can act in accordance with US law – which has low data protection standards – while they operate in European countries. “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” the German Chancellor stated.

The Data Protection Regulation has been one of the hottest topics in the EU decision making apparatus. The current rules stem from 1995 – an era in which internet was in a stage of infancy. The topic gained more attention after Edward Snowden, a former US spook, has revealed that US intelligence agencies have been tapping on the information channels of European leaders.

All stakeholders agree that action is needed. Not everybody agrees on what those actions should entail. After a lengthy and heated debate in the European Parliament’s LIBE committee in October 2013, the proposal is currently stalled in the Council. Germany and Britain are in opposing blocs. The Germans believe that the current piece of legislation is not going far enough whilst the British think that the rules proposed are too strict and can therefore hamper the European economy.

Ecommerce Europe believes that adequate data protection standards are needed for a safe, secure and prosperous e-commerce industry. It welcomes initiatives taken to update the Data Protection Regulation, which is not up to date as it stands now. However, the current proposal ignores the needs of the e-commerce industry as it is too strict and is detrimental to the sector.