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16 Jul, 2013

Merkel calls for stronger Europe, global data rules


BERLIN, July 15 (Xinhua) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Sunday for strict global rules on the protection of personal data in the wake of the recently revealed U.S. surveillance activities in EU and Germany.

In a TV interview with the public broadcaster ARD on Sunday evening, Merkel said Germany wanted internet companies to tell Europe who they are giving data to.

She called for a European Union regulation on telephone and Internet data protection requiring internet companies to disclose to whom they transfer data as well as an international treaty to ensure privacy protection. “I expect a clear commitment from the U.S. government that in future they will stick to German law,” Merkel added.

She had earlier defended German intelligence service and intelligence cooperation with other countries, saying that the intelligence work is essential for the security of citizens and that “a country without intelligence work would be too vulnerable.”

A recent report by Der Spiegel, citing classified documents disclosed by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, said Washington was monitoring phone calls and Internet data connections in Germany as well as spying on the headquarters of the European Union and its offices in Washington and the United Nations in New York.

The report sparked widespread outcry in privacy-sensitive Germany. The German government has said that Berlin felt surprised and “alienated” by media reports of cold-war-style U.S. spying on European nations.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich returned to Germany on Saturday after meeting in Washington with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Vice President Joe Biden. He said he was satisfied with the meetings and the U.S. National Security Agency’s Prism program have prevented terrorist attacks.