Germany ends Verizon contract over NSA concerns

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Germany ends Verizon contract over NSA concerns

Worried about snooping.

Germany's federal government has taken the unusual step of citing concerns around spying by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) in ending its remaining contracts with network provider Verizon.

In a German-language short bulletin, the Bundesministerium des Innern (BMI) or the federal ministery of interior announced that the country's government intends to terminate any remaining contracts with the US telco for the Berlin-Bonn information network.

BMI said government networks must be protected from malware such as Trojan horses but added that the revelations about NSA mass surveillance have highlighted the need for safety-critical communications infrastructure for the federal administration.

A spokesperson for the BMI confirmed to AP that German government concerns over NSA snooping as leaked by the spy agency's former contractor Edward Snowden were behind the termination of the contract.

"There are indications that Verizon is legally required to provide certain things to the NSA, and that's one of the reasons the cooperation with Verizon won't continue," said Tobias Plate, a spokesperson for the BMI.

Verizon has also held the contract for a second federal government network since 2010, and has been informed by the German government that it will not be transferring connections to that communications infrastructure.

In Australia, Verizon services several government customers such as the Department of Defence, the Federal Police, Medicare and the Attorney-General's office from two facilities in Canberra.

The US telco won the contract to provide a secure internet gateway for the AFP and four client agencies in July last year, in a deal worth $15 million. Verizon told iTnews at the time that it was considering expanding its business in Australia with the deployment of a cloud infrastructure node.

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