AT&T hit with European backlash due to NSA activities

Oct 30, 2013
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The NSA has received a lot of backlash for its various spying activities, but it isn't the only entity that is paying for its activities. AT&T, which has long been interested in buying a wireless company in Europe, has received substantial resistance, with it being made known that any purchase that takes place will "face intense scrutiny."

The reason for this is cited as the carrier's cooperation with the NSA's data-collection efforts, something, it should be noted, the carrier is legally required to do. Vodafone is one expected potential bid that AT&T could pursue, but all is for naught if the region's establishment throws up roadblocks due to justified concerns about data privacy.

A Greens parliament co-leader, Anton Hofreiter, said of the deal: "One would really have to ask: Should this be allows? Does this make sense? What does this mean for our standards of data privacy?" Hofreiter isn't the only one to make such statements, and Germany's federal commissioner for data protection, Peter Schaar, has directly stated that AT&T could only operate in the nation if it agreed that the NSA will receive no data from it.

While an AT&T deal in Europe under any circumstance would result in a lot of red tape, the NSA hoopla has made any potential business relations far more strained, and the amount of time it takes to sort through all the data and privacy issues and establish terms -- if possible at this point -- could be much longer than before. At the end of it all, European nations would require a guarantee that data from its citizens would remain within the country, and would not be shuttled off to the US intelligence agency.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal


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