Amazon opens new data centers in Germany

Amazon is opening up new data centers in Germany to comply with European Union and German privacy laws.

EU and German data privacy laws require some data be stored locally. The new centers for Amazon Web Services will allow cloud-storage users to keep their data within EU borders.

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Amazon dubs the new German data centers as a “region,” marking their second in the EU and their 11th worldwide.

“You can now build multi-Region applications with the assurance that your content will stay within the EU,” said Jeff Barr, Amazon Web Services chief evangelist, in a blog post

Many governments have pushed for laws requiring citizens’ data be stored locally following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures that the National Security Agency is secretly collecting Internet communications from overseas data centers.

Many companies have also become wary of storing data in the U.S. because of what they see as lax American data security laws and minimal restrictions on government surveillance.

Silicon Valley firms have expressed worries that the NSA surveillance could cost them customers abroad.

Amazon said it did not have to bolster security measures to comply with German data laws. According to the company’s German privacy policy, customers would be able to encrypt their content.

“Content that has been encrypted is rendered useless without the applicable decryption keys,” an Amazon Web Services spokesperson said by email.  

Companies like Apple and Google have promoted new security features they claim would make data more inaccessible to government authorities — a move the FBI has has criticized.

The new German data centers are not the first time Amazon has responded to laws calling for data to be stored locally.

In December, it opened data centers in China. The company also put data centers in Brazil several years before revelations of the U.S. surveillance programs.

— This story was last updated at 12:25 p.m.