EU Risks Hurting Growth in Data Safeguard Effort, Study Finds

The European Union will damage its own economy if it takes too tough a line on data protection, a study by the Lisbon Council and the Progressive Policy Institute found.

Chancellor Angela Merkel risks choking off Germany’s economy in her push for network independence in response to allegations of U.S. spying, according to the report, released in Brussels today. Europe already makes less use of data than the U.S. and other faster-growing competitors, the study found.

“A European Internet might sound like a grand, patriotic idea,” authors Michael Mandel of the Washington-based PPI and Paul Hofheinz of the Brussels-based Lisbon Council said in the study. “But were it to take shape, it would harm few people or places more than Europe and Europeans themselves.”

European authorities are moving ahead with their own proposals to widen the scope of information-sharing rules, and data protection standards are not part of a proposed free trade pact between the U.S. and the EU. The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks could nonetheless be a venue to discuss how new standards will take shape, according to the report.

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