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Angela Merkel Tells US Firms To Meet German Privacy Rules

samzenpus posted 1 year,8 days | from the do-as-we-say-and-as-we-do dept.

Privacy 153

judgecorp writes "Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has given her backing to proposed European privacy regulations and demanded that U.S. firms should meet German privacy rules. Merkel's stance comes as U.S. firms lobby against strict E.U. privacy proposals — but also follows revelations from Edward Snowden through German newspaper Der Spiegel, that the German authorities are helping the NSA spy on German citizens."

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153 comments

About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288013)

What took Euro politicians so long?

Re:About Time (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288105)

This is Merkel. She's the epitome of leading from the back. First, she checks where the masses are running, then she overtakes them, puts herself on the front of the movement and screams "follow me!"

So by definition it takes her a while to find out where everyone is running, she really doesn't want to start early and follow... erh, lead an agenda that doesn't have enough voters behind it.

Re:About Time (3, Insightful)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288157)

This still sounds better than what we have in the US, where the politicians close their eyes, run for awhile, then declare "This is what you asked for! No, I'm not going to come all of the way back there...do you realize how far I ran?"

Re:About Time (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288289)

Are you kidding? Every legislator has 20/10 vision when it comes to seeing the money special interests hand out like water for re-elections. Those who claim to recognize it, however are apparently unable to recognize to the paid shills who show up at their doorstep to feed them "well researched" bullshit that is biased towards the shill's handlers. Corrupt or stupid, but certainly not blind.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288559)

Every traitor/criminal legislator, runs with their handout and then gives handouts!

Re:About Time (1)

arfonrg (81735) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289951)

Doesn't that make them trip and fall when the weight in their hands gets too much?

Re:About Time (1)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290003)

That's why we're migrating away from an actual cash based system...all they have to carry is a credit card.

Re:About Time (3, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288217)

I'll take a leader who leads people places they want to go over leaders that go wherever the hell they want any day of the week.

Re:About Time (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288441)

I agree fully, a while back my district had a politician that would run polls for nearly every issue that came up and would even vote against his preference if there was a strong feeling from his constituency. He was branded a flip-flop politician, which I thought was pretty unfair. I personally felt that asking those whom you represent what they think you should say and acting on that information is what a good representative should be doing.

Re:About Time (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288537)

I'm pretty sure that's the point of representative government....

Re:About Time (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288849)

This ought to be a requirement.
Sure, the poll would need some form of authentication so that labor unions and big business can't hire hordes of minions to stuff the electronic ballot box.

But given that, any vote against majority wishes should be published, and the legislator should have to account for it. The majority isn't always right, but they are always the majority, and if you can't get them to elect you in spite of the fact they occasionally have to be ignored, then you probably shouldn't be running.

Voters are actually mature enough to be told why they couldn't have everything their way, and why new taxes might actually be needed.

Re:About Time (1)

Monsuco (998964) | 1 year,8 days | (#44291157)

I agree fully, a while back my district had a politician that would run polls for nearly every issue that came up and would even vote against his preference if there was a strong feeling from his constituency. He was branded a flip-flop politician, which I thought was pretty unfair. I personally felt that asking those whom you represent what they think you should say and acting on that information is what a good representative should be doing.

Conversely, in my state (Colorado) the Senate President, John Morse (D) did TV interviews and spoke with other legislative Democrats about the importance of "not listening to the ugliness" when it appeared that some of his gun control proposals were extremely unpopular. He pushed them forward anyway. He narrowly won his seat last time (thanks to a 3rd party) and roughly half of those who voted in the last election signed petitions to trigger a recall against him (only 25% was required). It now looks like he and another state senator are probably going to be recalled after he pushed his party to ignore the public.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288617)

That depends on the people. Some countries have more insanity in the population than others.

Re:About Time (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289011)

When it comes down to it, as long as the system provides the means to demand courses be reversed if they are going wrong in a timely manner, even an insane population should still be workable. The trick is to educate them on the issues, not just ask really vague poll questions.

Re:About Time (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289155)

The trick is to educate them on the issues...

Not so... The 'trick' is to appeal to basic instincts. That is how you win.

Re:About Time (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289291)

That's dependent upon who is doing the tricking, of course.

Re:About Time (1)

Monsuco (998964) | 1 year,8 days | (#44291175)

The trick is to educate them on the issues

If the last US election taught us anything, I'd say the trick is to simply promise them free crap.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44291521)

Since federal programs move money from blue states to red states you may need to readjust your theory. Not saying you need to agree with Democrats but your sound bite is akin to saying Nazi's are bad because they like pink. They may very well be bad, but not because they like pink.

Re:About Time (5, Insightful)

Noughmad (1044096) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288337)

This is Merkel. She's the epitome of leading from the back. First, she checks where the masses are running, then she overtakes them, puts herself on the front of the movement and screams "follow me!"

So by definition it takes her a while to find out where everyone is running, she really doesn't want to start early and follow... erh, lead an agenda that doesn't have enough voters behind it.

This is basically what democracy should be about: doing what the people want.

Re:About Time (3, Insightful)

zazzel (98233) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288901)

Nope, that is actually the definition of opportunistic behaviour. In a democracy, in theory we transfer power to people we have elected for certain goals and values. If I wanted a flag hanging in the wind, parties would become obsolete.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44289227)

Silver medal for mental gymnastics display.

Re:About Time (2)

bdwebb (985489) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290163)

Parties are obsolete. We don't need 'sides' to get behind and we don't need some arbitrary party organization dictating the policies of those 'sides' to the elected officials belonging to those parties. Our elected officials were elected to represent the will of the will of the people and I don't believe many people would argue that this is what our politicians are currently doing or have done for quite some time. Two party politicians get elected based upon their campaign's stated goals and somehow everyone turns a blind eye when almost immediately the stated goals of their official change because he/she is 'on their side'.

Instead of a flag hanging in the wind, how about not supporting one of the big two? Instead, we might all have to actually pay attention to the politics of the candidates we elect and the candidates might actually have to act on what they say in order to even get elected...you know - how it should be according to the idealistic definition of democracy that you have. Seems more educated and enlightened a way to do things than to just know that you are a democrat or a republican and therefore that is just how you vote. In a society in which we intentionally launch objects and vehicles into space and control scientific research vessels remoly on OTHER PLANETS, shouldn't we all have to progress together instead of electing people who 'just know what to do' so that we can avoid the added stress of having to pay attention to what the fuck is going on? Er wait...that cuts into my (social trend following and facebook updating/beer drinking and nascar) time...nevermind, fuck that shit.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44289101)

This is Merkel. She's the epitome of leading from the back. First, she checks where the masses are running, then she overtakes them, puts herself on the front of the movement and screams "follow me!"

So by definition it takes her a while to find out where everyone is running, she really doesn't want to start early and follow... erh, lead an agenda that doesn't have enough voters behind it.

This is basically what democracy should be about: doing what the people want.

Two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner?

Re:About Time (3, Funny)

hackwrench (573697) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289583)

Excepept its usually morea bunch of sheep and a few wolves except the wolves work to convince the sheep the wolves are actually sheepdogs and if a few sheep were to disappear... the remaining sheep are told its because they didn'tlisten to the wolves, er sheepdogs.

Re:About Time (2)

Tom (822) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290131)

Except that this is only the show.

The real politics of the current government are... let's just say they are so deep in certain lobby and interest group pockets, it isn't even funny anymore. If someone had done a satire about this ten years ago, I don't think anyone would have printed it because it would've sounded too outlandish and overdone.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288407)

AC from the first post here.

While I am inclined to agree with you, i cannot think of any politician (in charge) other than Neelie Kroes upholding Euro consumer and competition laws. Just think of ACTA - we have to thank the, otherwise corporation-loving conservative block for not having it, while the left winged opposition supported ACTA (with very few exclusions)

Also Merkel's support of Greece was neither well received by the German taxpayers, nor the Greek population (who of course now have to pay the price of decades of overspending and corruption).

I don't follow German national politics, but I think Merkel sometimes gets less credit than she deserves. Also, being a physicist, scores Merkel some geek-cred with me

Re:About Time (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288859)

ACTA - we have to thank the, otherwise corporation-loving conservative block for not having it

That's a big fat lie. The vast majority of the votes in favor of ACTA came from the EPP, the conservatives. With just one exception, S&D voted against ACTA.

Re:About Time (2)

beelsebob (529313) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288479)

It's almost like she's doing what politicians are meant to be doing –representing their constituent's views!

Woe betide the politician who actually finds out what their constituents views are before deciding what to do!

Re:About Time (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288551)

So she's a democratically elected politician. What's your point? Politicians *never* lead any major changes, and are frequently changing policies in reflection of a change in the desires of the electorate that happened 5-10 years earlier.

Re:About Time (1)

exomondo (1725132) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290075)

So by definition it takes her a while to find out where everyone is running, she really doesn't want to start early and follow... erh, lead an agenda that doesn't have enough voters behind it.

Championing the agenda of voters is exactly what politicians should be doing! Why would you want them leading an agenda that voters don't want?

Re:About Time (1)

cavreader (1903280) | 1 year,8 days | (#44291567)

All the politicians in the EU were quite vocal about US spying activities until their respective intelligence agencies took them aside and explained that they were doing the same thing and routinely request US collected data for their own purposes. It seems the whole world is in shock after learning that intelligence agencies actually spy. I wish the people "leaking information" would leak something about what really happened in Roswell, NM and who really killed JFK. Think of the mayhem that information would unleash.

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288341)

It's propaganda. There's an election coming up, they have to appear like they are changing things for the better. They're really not. US companies have to follow EU law, but they're probably following it right now, except we don't know under what exception or treaty what they do is legal. German Secretary of the Interior Friedrich visited the US and about the only result was that a treaty that hadn't been used in 20 years was rescinded. It is already known that it has long been replaced by a more recent treaty, so officially ending the old treaty is all smoke and mirrors. Germany is not the country to end this charade, because Germany is still a US puppet. Has been ever since WW2.

Security agencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288027)

How are these supposed to work? I'm really curious. A country has a bunch of laws to protect its citizens. Then there is this. sometimes huge, apparatus that doesn't need to follow these laws at all. Who ensures that they don't do wrong? And what is the point of having all these laws if they can be circumvented at any time by certain people with the only justification along the lines of "it's in your best interest". or "you don't need to worry about it".

Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (5, Interesting)

Chirs (87576) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288065)

My reading on that is that *if* the new European Commission data privacy rules get passed, then Germany would expect US firms to abide by those rules *for citizens of the EU*. Seems quite reasonable, actually.

Basically it's just an extension of the fact that those same US firms already have to comply with existing privacy rules in various countries around the world. (I seem to recall Google having to blur faces and license plates when it launched Street View in Canada...)

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (2)

Mitreya (579078) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288365)

My reading on that is that *if* the new European Commission data privacy rules get passed, then Germany would expect US firms to abide by those rules *for citizens of the EU*. Seems quite reasonable, actually.

Isn't it? But it is difficult to understand for Americans.
Here in US, when companies are blatantly violating the law, they are retroactively shielded by Congress, instead of being punished and forced into compliance.

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (3, Interesting)

phayes (202222) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288707)

What I'd really like to know is whether Merkel's rule only apply to US corporations. In other words, will France's DGSE's collection of the same information as that the USG is collecting through US Corporations get a free pass? From the info I can find, it seems so...

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288949)

That's a more internal issue. Besides, how many people outside of France use french services?

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (1)

phayes (202222) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289733)

Given the geographical position that France is in, much of the transatlantic traffic passes through France & thus is snooped by the DGSE, so no I don't think that this is merely an internal French issue. It's hard to be hypocritical in condemning US behaviour, but purposefully ignoring French acts helps.

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289985)

I like French Fries.

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288987)

What I'd really like to know is whether Merkel's rule only apply to US corporations. In other words, will France's DGSE's collection of the same information as that the USG is collecting through US Corporations get a free pass? From the info I can find, it seems so...

Chances are that Germany has spy programs every bit as intrusive as the US does, and that every German telcom and data retention company is every bit as "backdoored" to agencies of the German Government just as the are in the US.

It was only 5 days ago that Merkel was justifying [ndtv.com] not only her own government's spying, but also the NSA spying.

To now expect the US firms to adhear to a level of privacy that firms in her own country flaunt is simply playing to the masses. She will sell them out behind the scenes in a heartbeat.

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (4, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290161)

Yes, the DGSE has to comply with German rules when dealing with German citizens. It has to comply with EU rules when dealing with everything, even non-EU citizens. Unlike the US we don't have this concept of rights only applying to our own citizens, they apply to everyone.

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288961)

My reading on that is that *if* the new European Commission data privacy rules get passed, then Germany would expect US firms to abide by those rules *for citizens of the EU*. Seems quite reasonable, actually.

Why does it seem reasonable for Germany to decide how firms in the US behave? Why is it not the responsibility of citizens of the EU to decide whether they will do business with firms in the US or not? If there are firms in the EU which are leaking customer information to firms in the US who don't respect the laws they are required to follow, then sue the leakers. If people in the EU choose to do business with firms in the US, why shouldn't they be subject to the laws of the US?

Don't get me wrong, I am completely in support of laws in the EU which protect the interests of consumers within the EU. Once they are dealing with a company in the USA, they should be expecting them to behave like an American company.

The alternative, requiring anyone to respect any foolish law passed in another country which seeks to control their behavior, is too terrible to contemplate. Law is already overly obfuscated as it is; you want to add international case law to every case involving a foreign national? Look, if you don't want to be hauled away in a death van don't go to China, and if you don't want to be spied upon, don't do business with the USA.

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44289317)

Once they are dealing with a company in the USA, they should be expecting them to behave like an American company.

You might as well say that once US companies are dealing with EU citizens, they should be expecting to be covered by EU law. It would be nice if companies didn't have to deal with many different sets of country-specific laws. It would be better if there was some piece of international legislation covering this, but there isn't. So if the US is forcing US companies into serving illegitimate US interests in other countries, like espionage, then those other countries need to counteract that as far as they can. Mildly breaking the internet is a very unfortunate but unavoidable consequence of that. I'm guessing that for the foreseeable future, the best case to hope for is EU-specific laws, so that at least companies won't have to deal with each EU country individually. That would be just like having internet sales tax be the same all over the US, so that companies won't have to collect different tax for every county. It would be easier with a world-wide internet sales tax, yes, but that won't happen.

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289505)

All this would be much easier if we just got away from huge Multinational corporations being able to run their local branches as if the were in the US.

I'm fine with Google being incorporated in multiple countries, as long as they are separate entities, (both for tax purposes and legal requirements) AND if they kept private data within national (or EU) borders.

How hard would it be to keep German Google user's data inside Germany? Gmail, google drive, and several other services would simply host all user's data in-country. This doesn't require a monster data centers everywhere, simply multiple smaller data centers hosting only the user's data.

The search engine data, maps, etc could be hosted anywhere.

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289729)

How hard would it be to keep German Google user's data inside Germany?

Probably pretty easy. And really they only need to make a good-faith effort to keep EU data within the EU. But as you say, they really would have to be separate entities for this to work. There's just no way otherwise to avoid nations applying pressure to get their way.

Re: Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44290601)

But the Internet doesn't have borders! I thought you all wanted it that way.

Yah, I get it, you want local immunity from foreign laws you don't like and foreign enforcement of local laws that protect you.

Good luck with all that, fellas.

Re: Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290875)

The internet is not what is under discussion here.
We are talking about your private email, your cloud storage, your pictures, etc that you put into the trust of a company.

Its clear allowing that company to store your documents in a foreign country puts your data under the rules of a foreign government. But it need not be that way.

It has nothing to do with accessing websites over seas.

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (5, Informative)

JanneM (7445) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289851)

But these US companies do business in the EU. If, say, Google really truly only existed in the US it'd be one thing, but they do not. They make a good deal of their income from advertising and services in the EU; have facilities, offices and data centers there; most have daughter companies in the area.

Put it this way: EU car makers must follow US safety standards for the vehicles they export to the US, right? Even though they don't actually make them there, or have the head office there or anything. So, if you're an online business and solicit users and income in the EU it's jsut as reasonable that you have to follow local laws for that business as well.

Re:Only applies to EU citizens, presumably (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289213)

They only had to blur the faces you see on the pages. Behind the curtain an entirely different scene is taking place. The originals are handed over to the authorities. You don't think that they would pass by such a great opportunity to collect some intelligence, do you?

Now THIS is funny! (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288133)

The same government that brought us the "Bundestrojaner" (a trojan to be employed by law enforcement), that did pretty much anything to create Stasi 2.0 is now complaining about someone else doing it to them.

Mrs. Merkel, meet Mr. Kettle.

Re:Now THIS is funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288259)

Mrs. Merkel, meet Mr. Kettle.

Mrs Merkel Kettle. Sounds like a villain from a novel.

Dear Angela: (2)

swschrad (312009) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288459)

We are complying with GFR privacy rules and more, by directly spying on your citizens and ours, so you don't have to do it for us.

Sincerely, Redacted.

Re:Now THIS is funny! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289229)

Mrs. Merkel, meet Mr. Kettle.

You mean she's just finding out who she's been sleeping with all this time?

Re:Now THIS is funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44289353)

You are reacting to this as though you are part of the US government so that you personally are being criticized when Merkel criticizes the US. Instead, view this as a citizen or company potentially subject to spying and espionage. The louder all the world leaders are forced to shout at each other about stopping these activities, the better for you. It doesn't matter that they are being hypocrites, what matters is for there to be action to stop these activities. If Merkel acts against US misdeeds and the US acts against German misdeeds, then that's a good thing.

Re:Now THIS is funny! (1)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290715)

The same government that brought us the "Bundestrojaner" (a trojan to be employed by law enforcement)

German cops wear a condom when the fuck you over?

PAPERZ PLEAZ !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288163)

Du schweinhund du !!

Die Bart Die !!

Snowden (-1, Troll)

arcite (661011) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288205)

Snowden is now trapped in a Russian Airport, even Putin has said Snowden is unable to leave. At the end of the day, Snowden is a traitor and a criminal, he will be caught and dragged, kicking and screaming to face justice.

You have it backwards, IMO.... (4, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288389)

...Snowden is a traitor and a criminal...

Says you.
Not everyone agrees with you.
His name has been put up for the Nobel Peace Prize as of today, .by at least one person [politico.com]

As a US citizen, I applaud him, and think the traitors and criminals are holding gov't. offices.

Re:You have it backwards, IMO.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288721)

...Snowden is a traitor and a criminal...

Says you.
Not everyone agrees with you.
His name has been put up for the Nobel Peace Prize as of today, .by at least one person [politico.com]

And Barack Obama was put up for and won a Nobel Peace Prize by virtue of simply not being George W. Bush. Either you're saying that the mere concept of presidential term limits is worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize (meaning it's worth roughly dick), or you accept the reality that they clearly just give those things out for any stupid reason (meaning it's still worth roughly dick).

Re:You have it backwards, IMO.... (1)

brit74 (831798) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289169)

Not to take away from your argument, but being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize isn't actually that difficult.

The statutes of the Nobel Foundation specify categories of individuals who are eligible to make nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. These nominators are:
Members of national assemblies and governments and members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
Members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice at the Hague
Members of Institut de Droit International
University professors of history, social sciences, philosophy, law and theology, university presidents and directors of peace research and international affairs institutes
Former recipients, including board members of organizations that have previously won the prize
Present and past members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
Former permanent advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Institute
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Peace_Prize#Nomination [wikipedia.org]

Merely being a university professor in history, social sciences, philosophy, law or theology qualifies a person to nominate someone for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Re:Snowden (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288505)

... and those criminals that he exposed will run free.

Re:Snowden (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288625)

Scum bag. Yes
Criminal. Probably.
Traitor [wikipedia.org] . No

Re:Snowden (2)

Mitreya (579078) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288805)

Scum bag. Yes

How do you figure that part? There are certainly a number of more profitable things he could have done with this information instead, so he definitely acted selflessly (regardless of whether it was or was not legal and regardless whether you agree with his actions).

It's only fair (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288215)

If American laws apply in the EU, then EU laws should apply in the US.

Re:It's only fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288767)

If American laws apply in the EU, then EU laws should apply in the US.

Nice try, but we (Europeans) lose, while those neo liberal heathens in the US stand to gain from your proposal.
Better to boot the US out of Europe together with its barbaric laws.

Re:It's only fair (1)

brit74 (831798) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289199)

American laws apply in the EU? If that were true, the PirateBay would've been gone a long time ago.

oh yeah? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288279)

What is she going to do about it? Invade Poland?

This is only possible at the moment (3, Interesting)

metrix007 (200091) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288383)

They can only do this while the US company has some sort of presence in Europe.

As internet speeds increase, the need for a physical presence will disappear.

Good luck getting Google or Facebook to comply if all their datacenters and business locations are only in the US.

Europeans will still want to use the services, so that will be interesting.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (1)

grmoc (57943) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288619)

Thusfar, as far as I know, the speed of light has remained about the same...

Re:This is only possible at the moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288935)

Circ of earth 40,075km
speed of light in vacuum 299,792,458 m / s = 299,792.458 km/s
40,075/ (2 * 299,792.458) ~= 0.0668 s
Worst case latency caused by propagation of light is less than a tenth of a second. More than acceptable for a search engine, and just about anything else.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (1)

aliquis (678370) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289683)

But not the density of space. And looking at where the US population is going.. Or should we say not going, ..

(I don't even know if my physics is correct :))

Re:This is only possible at the moment (2)

trampel (464001) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288677)

Keep in mind that to Google and Facebook, each user is a product, not a customer.

They do have business presences in most European countries to interact with their real customers, i.e. advertisers. It sounds reasonable to expect them to adhere to local laws in countries that they do business in.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (2)

coyote_oww (749758) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289369)

Mmm, really? Arab countries famously have laws prohibiting Israeli content in products. The US has laws outlawing such (http://www.bis.doc.gov/complianceandenforcement/antiboycottcompliance.htmt).

The problem is that you can't get countries to agree to have compatible laws, and the internet presence of a company is effectively in one place. If the rules are different from locale to locale, users will tend to gravitate to one particular locale that is most attractive (for whatever reason). Insisting on enforcing your laws in someone else's locale is futile. The logical extension of this is that companies with internet presence would have to comply with every law in every country - a logical impossibility, not to mention the practical impossibility.

Having the US to blame for everything helps pull the continent together. I'd like to see Europe cut itself off from Google, Apple. Ebay, et.al. It would be entertaining. Be interesting to see whether the rest of the world followed them, or stuck with the American services they are used to. Be interesting to see everything required to have French as the default, or at least in an equal prominence as English. Basically, I don't have confidence in Europe's ability to settle it's own differences, without accusing each other of spying, or controlling, or destroying other cultures, etc. Watching them have to deal honestly with their internal divisions would be fascinating.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (2)

metrix007 (200091) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289447)

Yeah, that's pretty much nonsense. It sure sounds slick to say, but it's still nonsense.

Any individual is not a product, they are the customer, because advertising is sold to them.

A large collection of users as a whole may be a product for advertisers. That is not the same as each user being a product.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (3, Informative)

phayes (202222) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288757)

When Facebook/Google sells to local businesses in Europe, it does not matter that f/g is entirely off shored as they need
Ely block the money. For an example of how off shored businesses can be brought to heel, see the gambling sites the USG has been blocking.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44289023)

Lol, how naive... you think the reason why fb and google have their headquarters in ireland is due to "connectivity".

Lol.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (0)

metrix007 (200091) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289465)

I never said that. Idiot.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289075)

It's not about the hardware, it's about collecting payments from people in Europe, and you'd better believe governments can restrict that.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (4, Informative)

TheSync (5291) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289225)

I was recently at an IT conference in Geneva.

A speaker from a large company there warned those attending (mainly from Europe) to avoid US cloud companies because of NSA spying. Not just US-based servers, but also any company with SUPPORT STAFF located in the US as well, even if the servers are located outside of the US.

Reason 1 is the risk of private company information flowing to competitors through the NSA either officially or through corruption.

Reason 2 is the legal risk of falling afoul of EU privacy laws by hosting in the US or with US support staff.

That's the report from Europe folks. You can call it FUD, but it is there nonetheless.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44289885)

A speaker from a large company there warned those attending (mainly from Europe) to avoid US cloud companies because of NSA spying. Not just US-based servers, but also any company with SUPPORT STAFF located in the US as well, even if the servers are located outside of the US.

Speakers saying such things have been at every convention since the .com boom in the 90s. By and large, people don't listen to them. They never have, they never will.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44290243)

Its called having a CDN and data centre in Europe (which would be spyed on by the NSA anyways and whatever agencies in the EU) to decrease latency for users in Europe, Middle East and Africa and parts of Asia where the majority of upstream peering/IP transit goes.

Plus Merkel is talking smack like politicians as usual and this will blow over anyways.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44289301)

And that will be addressed by some sort of treaty.

USA: We want you Germany to respect OUR copyright laws in YOUR country!

Germany: Nope, not until you comply with the EU laws.

USA: Oh okay.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (1)

White Flame (1074973) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289477)

This is no different than doing business with any foreign entity. If you buy physical product from some offshore supplier, local business & warranty laws don't apply to them.

If you're dealing in data with a foreign entity, that entity is not bound to your local data laws. The only difference is that now in the "information age" regular home users are exposed to the risks involved.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289861)

Good luck getting Google or Facebook to comply if all their datacenters and business locations are only in the US.

And good luck to Google or Facebook trying to withdraw their euro payments from EU banks.

Sure, US companies can scoff EU law, but they won't make any money by doing so.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (1)

JanneM (7445) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289863)

You still want to get paid for advertisements, services and so on don't you? Anything like that is having a presence in the country.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (1)

metrix007 (200091) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290413)

No, not necessarily. They could do payments through something like bitcoin or paypal. Then paypal has to comply, but not google or facebook.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290109)

Bullshit.

Multinational corporations will always have a presence in Europe. Google maintains several offices throughout Germany. If you want to do business in a country on the scale the giants do, you need a local subsidary.

I see this again and again and again in every stupid fucking article about some European country not bowing down to US corporate interests. It's always the same moronic argument that basically boils down to "we powerful US corporations can do what we want, if Europe doesn't like it, we can pull out of there and then they'll be sorry".

The real world disagrees. Google pulling out of Europe would mean a bit of an inconvenience for Europe, and a dramatically damaged Google. I would go so far and claim that it's a move that could potentially destroy them. Or any other Internet giant.

What would happen to Europe if we lost Google, or Facebook? There'd be a lot of whining, and someone would step up to fill the gap before you can finish writing your blog post about the whining I mentioned, and after a short while, Googles or Facebooks would have powerful competition with a strong base in Europe and pressing on them in their other markets.

Seriously, idiots on /. are the only people seriously suggesting such a suicide move. The real players would rather pump a few millions into lobby work.

Re:This is only possible at the moment (1)

metrix007 (200091) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290431)

I'm not saying that big US based multinationals don't have to bow down to Europe, they do. They have to abide by the laws of any country they are in.

I'm saying eventually internet speed will be so fast and the internet economy will change to a point where they won't need to have a physical presence in every country. They can limit their physical presence to where the laws suit them best.

I mean really, the majority of Google's offerings are delivered through a browser. If you look at the reasons they need a physical presence, there are alternative solutions that don't require a physical presence.

demand ? huh ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288431)

Europe should not demand anything. Europe should just sue and severely punish those companies that do violate European law. What kind of crappy idea is it to make laws, wait for some foreign company to violate them and only then make demands ? What was the law for in the first place. ?

Re:demand ? huh ? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288661)

So a German visits my site. 3 years later I learn I have a default judgement against my site in Germany. What do I care?

Re:demand ? huh ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44288845)

I think you would care if your local police arrest you and you get extradited to Germany.

Seems far-fetched you say? To me it seems only fair since it has been happening the other way around for a few years already.

Re:demand ? huh ? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289383)

Extradited for a civil judgement?

Re:demand ? huh ? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,8 days | (#44290135)

Transporters and Tractor Beams have yet to be invented.

Re:demand ? huh ? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289029)

So a German visits my site. 3 years later I learn I have a default judgement against my site in Germany. What do I care?

Depends how you found out... If you found out during your vacation on the Rhine, you'll probably care.

But not as much as you'd care if it was a Frenchman visits your site and you find out while you're on the Seine.. because French repercussions for contempt of court are pretty heavy handed, especially for foreigners.

Re:demand ? huh ? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,8 days | (#44289411)

Why would I visit frogland? Perhaps changing planes. You also assume I registered the site in my name.

I hope this passes (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | 1 year,8 days | (#44288959)

The more pressure the US gets from all angles on these types of issues, the better.

Dear Angie (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44289061)

You need us more than we need you, so please sit down and STFU.

Re:Dear Angie (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44289997)

This highlights the very arrogant attitude with the USA and why we need to put them in their place.

Did you know, the reason why Europe formed? it was to give the European countries a central voice to stand up to arrogant bigoted fucktards like the US telling them what to do, and for that I deeply applaud them.

Re:Dear Angie (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44290589)

This highlights the very arrogant attitude with the USA and why we need to put them in their place.

Did you know, the reason why Europe formed? it was to give the European countries a central voice to stand up to arrogant bigoted fucktards like the US telling them what to do, and for that I deeply applaud them.

Yes all the while trying to keep in the US 51st state aka the UK and NATO.
These 2 are the major blocks for real EU political and military unity. As long as the US has bases in the EU, dictates to the EU specific policies (the speed for integrating into the union all the ex soviet satellite states for instance) and the UK implements and pushes the policies of the US over those of its own citizens (witness the completely one side extradition treaty it simple bogles the mind such stupidiy) let alone fucking EU citizens in the process nothing good can out of EU. It is and will continue to a be a giant with mud legs. And that is how the US wants it to be.

What about obeying China's laws? (1)

Monsuco (998964) | 1 year,8 days | (#44291075)

Weren't there lawsuits filed against Google and Yahoo! in the USA and EU for them turning over data on Chinese dissidents to China's Government. Yes, China's Government may be abusive, but it was required under Chinese law. Why is it important for Google to adhere to Germany's laws but not to China's laws? If Germany's privacy laws require Google to do things that violate America's FISA laws, who's to say who has primacy? If anything, the fact that the majority of Google's servers are in America probably means American law will hold more sway.
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