Merkel's mirage: ‘This new old idea of a Schengen net is basically a step back’
RT:What kind of future do you see for this proposal of Angela Merkel to create a pan-European communications network that would prevent private data from leaking across the Atlantic?
Bruno Kramm: Actually, for this proposal I don’t see any future. For me it’s just another symbol of the way how Chancellor Merkel is doing her politics. It’s symbolism, nothing else, especially when it comes to net politics, and when we look into the whole NSA affair, what happened recently about the mass surveillance, there had been no measurements at all, and no actions at all, and now she comes up with this new old idea of a Schengen net, what is basically a step back and nobody wants that and this will definitely not happen.
RT:It's been revealed last summer that the US is spying on Europe. How come it took EU officials so long to go from anger to action?
BK: Actually, they are still not having any kind of action on the whole thing. Of course, they tried to play, to be a little bit more [active], because the people on the street are really angry about the mass surveillance. Why it takes so long, we have several reasons. First of all, it is that all the secret agencies, also in Germany, are doing massive surveillance on the people, on the privacy. There has been a breach of democracy rights long time ago, and therefore, they are just now trying to clean out what has happened so far and to find a new definition. But basically, actual measurements haven’t been done so far.
As we look back, there had been that wish of Merkel to start this kind of a no-spy agreement with the US. Of course, the US were not accepting that; it would have helped nothing, because when you have a no-spy agreement it doesn't mean that for example some other state from the Five Eyes, these five countries who do mass surveillance, won't then do the espionage, so basically this doesn't help. What we need is a complete new law about data, security, and this needs to be implemented internationally. And in fact we have a good chance when we look at Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), we could start putting this into it right now.
RT:British and German intelligence agents have reportedly been collaborating with the NSA. If that cooperation remains, how would that affect the proposed European network?
BK: Well, basically as long as Tempora, this British espionage is going on, nothing would change, especially with this idea of Schengen net. But basically to explain why it is not working, to create these national networks is just quite simple. Today all the data flows constantly around the world, we work with big data, we need to do like this internet travel between many accounts, through all borders. So you cannot create a kind of a national network. In fact, it’s quite sad that the NSA especially with this whistleblowing leaks from Snowden, it helps at the moment most of the national states to think about an internet with borders. What this basically means is that they can put much more mass surveillance on their own people. We can see this in Russia, we can see this in China, we can see this most likely now as a try also in Europe. And basically this is really sad because that is a step-back from the great opportunities what the internet gives all the people in the world, when we start now putting borders around it. It doesn't help us at all, it just helps states to better control their people.
As we have recently seen what a kind of infiltration ways the US and NSA have, starting from Malware starting to copying all kind of communications from cell phones, from smart phones, from WLAN routers, from everywhere, I think that this kind of measurement would not help at all. Just look at the Germany, two of the big international mass surveillance stations of the NSA are right here in Germany.
RT:The proposal ultimately suggests fracturing the internet into independent zones. Would this change the World Wide Web as we know it?
BK: Of course, it would change it. In fact, in the last ITU conference there was a large discussion about fracturing the internet more and more, especially for states. If you look at the Far East, where [the countries] have much more control there over their people, over their citizens because they are afraid that some revolution like the Arab Spring could happen, they like to have more and more of these kinds of measurement. The sad the story is that most of the software from this is developed inside the Europe. In fact, we have a lot of programs on the European side, which help better to do this mass surveillance in the internet, which is fragmented in national states. And we, as a party, we fight really strictly against it because it means that the freedom which we all have voted for, the idea of the future which was put it into basic seed of the internet would be destroyed by a national totally controlled internet. And in fact, I don’t think that the people of the world would accept this. It is just at the moment we call it somehow that wet dream of some politicians, who like to have better control over their citizens but this, I hope, is over, and I think people in Europe would go to the street if something like this would happen.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.