An ongoing discussion about the EU creating an internet that is only specific for the nations inside of the EU has been going on since 2011. Since the Edward Snowden documents have been released, the cloud gurus who work for the EU have been worried about the United States’ spying activities on private corporations and citizens inside the EU.
The EU’s “Great firewall” proposal is an effort to keep Western agencies from keeping tabs on persons of interest in the European Union. The EU feels as if there is a process that must be followed in order to have agencies like Interpol search for criminals and investigate their activities. EU analysts feel as if the NSA’s spying revelations make the “Great firewall” necessary for the EU to be competitive with the United States. The great firewall is also known as “Schengen cloud.” The word Schengen comes from a treaty that allows EU residents to travel freely inside of EU countries without visas but explicitly disallows those from outside countries from entering without proper credentials.
The US Government recently by released a statement condemning the EU’s proposal for a “Great firewall.” The statement said:
“Recent proposals from countries within the European Union to create a Europe-only electronic network (dubbed a ‘Schengen cloud’ by advocates) or to create national-only electronic networks could potentially lead to effective exclusion or discrimination against foreign- service suppliers that are directly offering network services, or dependent on them. The USTR report makes clear that the US government regards the ‘Schengen cloud’ argument as a front for naked protectionism by the EU.”
The statement went on at great length saying that the protectionism of the EU could have dire consequences on trade between the US and the EU. The statement went on to mention:
“An innovative supplier from outside of Europe may refrain from offering its services in the EU because it may find EU-based storage and processing requirements infeasible for nascent services launched from outside of Europe.
Furthermore, any mandatory intra-EU routing may raise questions with respect to compliance with the EU’s trade obligations with respect to Internet-enabled services. Accordingly, USTR will be carefully monitoring the development of any such proposals.”
What does this mean for EU and US tensions? The standoff between the two will undoubtedly hurt the EU in a long run and for good reason. The United States has much of the world’s technological talent and infrastructure. Many analysts feel like the EU’s protective measures are just an overreaction to the Snowden revelations and those same analysts feel as if the real losers in this standoff are the tech firms inside of the EU.