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Germany to push for better internet data protection

Germany wants internet firms to be more transparent about how they are using personal data, says chancellor Angela Merkel

Germany wants internet firms to be more transparent about how they are using personal data, chancellor Angela Merkel has said.

In a weekend TV interview, Merkel said she will push for tougher European laws to protect personal information on the internet, according to the BBC.

The German chancellor’s comments come after revelations about the US Prism internet surveillance programme linked to top US internet firms, including Google and Facebook.

Documents leaked by Prism whistleblower Edward Snowden appear to indicate that the US bugged key EU offices and intercepted phone calls and emails from top officials.

Earlier this month, German publication Der Spiegel quoted the Snowden documents as revealing that the US taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany a month.

On an average day, the US National Security Agency (NSA) monitored about 20 million German phone connections and 10 million internet datasets, rising to 60 million phone connections on busy days, the report said.

In the TV interview, Merkel called for a clear commitment from the US government that in future they will stick to German law, and said her government would take a “very strict position” in ongoing talks on European data rules.

European Union and French officials have also called for clarification from the US in light of the concerns raised by the latest revelations about US surveillance.

Merkel said there is a need for unified European rules that apply equally across the region to internet companies operating in the region, irrespective of where those companies are registered.

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