Friday

17th Nov 2017

Kroes: Spy scandal could harm US Cloud firms

Revelations about America's spy programmes could drive Europeans away from US Cloud providers, according to the EU's digital agenda commissioner.

Speaking on Thursday (4 July) at an IT event in Tallinn Neelie Kroes, a vice-president of the EU's executive arm, warned that:"If European Cloud customers cannot trust the United States government or their assurances, then maybe they won't trust US Cloud providers either. That is my guess. And if I am right then there are multi-billion euro consequences for American companies."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Ilves and Kroes in Tallinn on Thursday (Photo: Jelena Rudi)

"If I were an American Cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now," she added.

For his part, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in a statement issued at the IT meeting that EU firms should do more o construct their own Clouds.

"Recent months have proven once again that it’s very important for Europe to have its own data Clouds that operate strictly under European legislation … Right now 95 percent of the cloud services used in the European Union belong to US companies," he noted.

He added in a tweet: "Or, to be blunt: Quit whinging. Get the EU Council, Comm [commission] and an eager, left-behind tech sector to create the safest, securest Cloud around."

Cloud computing uses a network of shared servers, storage applications and computer services which can be accessed on-demand via the Internet, cutting costs to businesses and consumers.

The global Cloud market is also the fastest growing sector of the IT industry, with research by the International Data Corporation projecting that its value will rise from $21.5 billion in 2010 to $73 billion in 2015.

However, its supporters concede that maintaining consumer trust by ensuring that personal data stored online is not lost or compromised is vital to its success.

Documents leaked to the media by Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence analyst turned whistle-blower, revealed that US intelligence services are engaged in mass surveillance programmes of EU citizens and businesses.

Kroes' remarks came amid suggestions that two working groups of EU and US officials will start investigations into whether data privacy rights were breached by the programmes next Monday (8 July) - the same day as officials begin negotiations on a multi-billion euro bilateral trade deal.

Speaking with reporters in Vilnius on Thursday (4th July), Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said that officials were "targeting" July 8th according to a letter from Eric Holder, the US attorney general.

Lithuania assumed responsibility for the EU's legislative workload at the start of the week as part of its six month rotating presidency of the EU.

For her part, Grybauskaite played down the importance of a US apology for its snooping programmes.

"I never seek an apology. I seek information and results," she said, adding that "let's get clarification and co-operation."

However, the decision on who would represent the EU in the inquest had not been made, said Grybauskaite.

Similar bilateral working groups were created when other secret mass-surveillance programmes regarding bank data (Swift) and personal records of European travellers (PNR) were uncovered by the media a few years ago.

MEPs point finger at Malta

The European Parliament debated shady deals and rule of law in Malta after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while the Commission wanted to avoid a "political fight".

Austrian privacy case against Facebook hits legal snag

Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems may sue Facebook Ireland in an Austrian court but won't be able to pursue a class action suit in Austria, according to a non-binding opinion by a top EU court advisor.

EU Parliament 'cookie' restrictions worry online media

The European Parliament and groups representing newspapers and magazines are at odds over how new privacy rules will affect the media, especially restrictions on website cookies - but one MEP thinks it could spark new business models.

MEPs ponder how to fight tax havens

After the Paradise Papers brought new revelations about tax dodging across the globe, including in the EU, the European Parliament wonders how to step up the fight.

MEPs point finger at Malta

The European Parliament debated shady deals and rule of law in Malta after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while the Commission wanted to avoid a "political fight".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  2. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  3. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  4. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  5. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  6. German coalition talks in near collapse
  7. EU to proclaim 'pillar' of social rights in Gothenburg
  8. Lower waste targets still not low enough for EU states