Germany Plans Boost to European IT After U.S. Spy Row

Germany Plans Boost to European IT After U.S. Spy Row

German Chancellor Merkel conducts a lecture at Heinrich Schliemann Gymnasium in Berlin

(Reuters) – Responding to Germans’ unease over U.S. surveillance of the Internet, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed initial plans on Wednesday to boost European technology companies and make them a more favorable alternative to U.S. peers.

Merkel’s chief of staff said on Monday that fears of mass U.S. spying on Germans were unfounded, and Washington had assured Berlin it had upheld German law. But with an election looming in less than six weeks, the government has come under pressure to do more to protect citizens’ private data.

“We need a strong European information technology industry which can offer alternatives,” said Economy Minister Philipp Roesler. Among ideas to be explored, he listed more secure cloud computing and better links between technology start-ups and established industry.

First results would be discussed at a IT summit in Hamburg in December, he said.

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