Deutsche Telekom to Push for National Routing to Curtail Spying

Deutsche Telekom AG, Germany’s biggest phone company, is lobbying the government to enforce tougher privacy protection by helping to keep German Internet traffic within national borders.

The company is asking the German government for help in setting up a framework for keeping Internet traffic including electronic mail within the country, rather than having e-mails and data routed through foreign hubs, it said in an e-mail today, confirming a report in WirtschaftsWoche.

“The business models of our industry -- especially in new areas such as cloud services -- depend on the trust of customers in the digital world,” said Philipp Blank, a spokesman for the Bonn-based company. “This trust has suffered badly. The onus is on governments when it comes to curbing espionage by their allies. But telecommunication companies can also play a role.”

Germany and the U.S. are in talks on an agreement not to spy on each other after the German government faced criticism over the extent of its cooperation with the U.S. National Security Agency in the gathering of information on German citizens, following revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

“For us, it’s extremely annoying that after four months we still don’t know to what extent foreign secret services conduct surveillance on German Internet and telephone communications,” Blank said.

The company’s proposal to maintain traffic within national boundaries could later be expanded to countries within the Schengen Zone, he said, referring to the European Union’s passport-free area.

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