Tech Companies Act to Prevent U.S. Access to Data Stored Overseas
NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft, Facebook and other companies take defensive action to keep the U.S. government from seizing data stored in the European Union.The Microsoft executive attending the CeBIT Press Preview in Hannover, Germany, let the global press representatives there know that his company was taking action to forestall any additional efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice to access information in European data centers. The company, he said, was in the process of building a new data center in Germany that would be designed so that it would have no connection to networks in the United States. It would be operated by Microsoft's German subsidiary. Facebook, meanwhile made an even wider announcement that it was doing the same thing by building a new data center in Clonee County, Ireland, near its international headquarters. Other companies, including Tableau and Foxconn, are doing the same thing instead of opening new U.S. data centers. Meanwhile, negotiators from the United States and the European Union are trying to work out a new Trans-Atlantic Data Transfer Agreement to regulate how data access is managed between the two regions. It would reportedly provide mechanisms for EU citizens and companies to sue in U.S. courts for violations of the agreement.
All of this is necessary because the European Court of Justice struck down the existing data transfer agreement because of revelations by former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden that U.S. intelligence agencies were routinely gathering information from the EU that was protected by EU law.