German government ends Verizon Communications Inc contract in wake of NSA spy scandal. Johannes Dimroth, an Interior Ministry spokesman said that Verizon Communications’ services won’t be retained because the German administration now mandates all telecommunications companies to sign new contracts to verify they’re not lawfully obligated to share information with foreign governments.
Accounts based on information disclosed by former US intelligence provider Edward Snowden asserted that Washington had performed mass surveillance in Germany and that they had even listened in on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.
Berlin consequently demanded talks with Washington regarding a “no-spy” deal, but these did not follow through after the United States showed unwillingness to provide Germany the assurance it wanted.
Germany then commenced a revamp of its internal communications and protect government networks. This is one of the initial actions involving a US firm to consequence.
“The pressures on networks as well as the risks from highly developed viruses or Trojans are rising,” Germany’s Interior Ministry said in a statement.
“Furthermore, the ties revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms in the wake of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) affair show that the German government needs a very high level of security for its critical networks.”
Germany has chosen the company Deutsche Telekom AG as replacement of Verizon Communications Inc. as a network provider after they have decided to terminate the American company’s agreement in the stir of reports about spy surveillance by the US NSA.
“The federal government wants to win back more technological sovereignty and therefore prefers to work with German companies,” Tobias Plate, an interior ministry spokesman, said at a press conference in Berlin.
Tobias Plate stated that Germany is utilizing an option in the existing Verizon contract to terminate the arrangement by next year. He declined to confirm whether the German government had any actual proof or evidence that Verizon Communications shared information from the network to the US National Security Agency. This clearly indicates that these apprehensions in Europe regarding the spying by US NSA may be damaging to the businesses of American companies in the district. Verizon has been a network provider infrastructure for the German government’s Berlin-Bonn network, used for communication between ministries since 2010.
According to Tobias Plate, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration aims to merge three individual networks under once service provider. No contract has been signed yet, but a scheme to award the contracts to Deutsche Telekom has already been conferred about in the parliament’s budget commission. Haralf Lindlar, a spokesman for the Deutsche Telekom’s T-Systems unit refused to comment regarding the matter.
Investigations on the accusations that the US NSA agents have tapped Merkel’s phone line have been initiated by German prosecutors and lawmakers.
All these spying controversies have severed relations between the US and several countries as well. China deferred its cooperation in a cyber security working group with the US just last month. This was after the American authorities prosecuted five Chinese military officials, accusing they stole trade secrets.