Merkel calls for global rules on data, Obama to explain EU bugging

Summary:Angela Merkel has said that she expects a commitment by the US government to respect German law while on German soil.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for strict global rules on the protection of personal data amid anger in Europe over the revelations of wide-ranging US surveillance programs.

"We must work together in the fight against terror, but, on the other hand, also guarantee the privacy of citizens. Not everything that is technically feasible in the future must be put to use. In our view, the ends do not justify the means," Merkel told the broadcaster ARD.

Merkel urged European countries to "speak with one voice" on the issue of data protection, and promised that Germany would discuss with European regulators the creation of "a single European scheme" that would lay out how internet companies manage user data.

The comments come in the wake of an uproar in Germany over US whistleblower Edward Snowden's disclosures that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on allied governments and their citizens through the so-called PRISM program.

"In the future, I expect a clear commitment by the American government to adhere to German law while on German soil," Merkel said. "We are defence partners, and we must be able to rely on each other."

Merkel said a data protection agreement could be modelled after the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was adopted by the UN in 1966.

The anxiety in Germany reflects in part the aggressive surveillance of citizens by the 1933-45 Nazi regime, and later by Communist authorities in the former East Germany.

US President Barack Obama has promised the European Union a full explanation of allegations that the NSA had bugged EU offices and the embassies of European allies, and conducted a massive communications surveillance operation in Europe.

US officials said on Friday that the government will also share more intelligence information with Germany.

Topics: Privacy, Government, Government : US

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