German minister says stay off US sites to avoid spying

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German minister says stay off US sites to avoid spying

Europeans demand privacy.

The fallout from the recent revelations that the United States conducts large scale electronic surveillance continues, with German federal minister of the interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich, saying people who fear being spied upon should not use US websites such as Google and Facebook.

Speaking to the Die Welt, Friedrich said: "If you worry about your communications being intercepted in any way, don't use services that go through American servers."

However, in an earlier interview with Die Welt, Friedrich said US spy agencies provided Germany with important information and advice.

Friedrich's recommendation come after the vice-president of the European Commission's Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, said that Europeans see privacy as a fundamental right that's enshrined in law.

"The PRISM debate will definitely increase calls for a European cloud, with a range of possible consequences for American companies," Kroes said in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Brussels.

"And PRISM also highlights a golden opportunity for people to make a huge privacy-focused company. It highlights that being strong on privacy can be a competitive advantage, a great business move, and I welcome that," Kroes said.

"Whatever the market developments might be, from a policy perspective, I want Europe to be seen as the safest corner of the internet and for entrepreneurs to be able to build businesses off the back of that," she added.

Meanwhile, Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency employee who leaked the information about the vast spy programme, is still holed up at a Moscow airport. He has applied for asylum in 21 countries and been turned down by most of them, including Germany where Friedrich yesterday said such requests were granted for humanitarian reasons which don't apply in Snowden's case.

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