Germany, US coordinating on privacy, cyber security

By Michael Hernandez, Saturday, May 03, 2014

“There needs to be and will have to be more than just business as usual”

“There needs to be and will have to be more than just business as usual”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Even as Germany and the U.S. prioritize joint action to bolster Ukraine, the two countries are working to close gaps on privacy concerns and cyber security interests, said the country’s two top leaders Friday.

The announcement follows last year’s disclosures by former National Security Agency, or NSA, contractor Edward Snowden that the agency spied on the private communications of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor.

“There needs to be and will have to be more than just business as usual,” said Merkel while speaking with U.S. President Barack Obama at a joint press conference at the White House Friday. 

A potential cyber dialogue, and EU-based negotiations, will serve as key forums for the two countries to hash out their remaining differences, according to Merkel.

“I think it's of prime importance for us to bring these negotiations forward, the process, but also bring it to a successful conclusion,” she said.

Obama said that the U.S. and Germany “have gone a long way” in closing gaps between the two countries on privacy and cyber security, but added that more work remains ahead. He said that it has “pained” him to see the extent to which U.S.-German relations have been strained by Snowden’s disclosures.

The proliferation of new technologies has increased the potential dangers to privacy rights, said Obama who added that the U.S. has tried to “make sure that our policies now reflect increased capabilities and, as a consequence, the increased dangers of intrusions in privacy.”

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