Report: Germany drops Verizon over NSA fears

The German government is planning to drop a contract with Verizon over fears of U.S. government snooping, according to a Thursday report.

A spokesman with the German Interior Ministry told The Associated Press that Berlin had decided not to renew the telecommunications giant’s contract providing Internet service to a number of government departments.

{mosads}The announcement comes more than a year after revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the U.S. spy agency had routinely been snooping on top German officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.

“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,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate said.

The current contract is set to expire in 2015, Plate added.

A Verizon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

When she visited Washington earlier this year, Merkel said that NSA snooping was still a sore spot for the German public.

“The situation is such that we have a few difficulties yet to overcome,” Merkel said at the time, during a press conference in the White House’s Rose Garden. 

The tension comes despite a number of actions President Obama has taken to soothe foreign nerves.  

Earlier this year, he pledged to no longer monitor the communications of friendly foreign leaders.

Just this week, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the administration would push Congress on a bill that would give European Union citizens rights over their data similar to Americans, and allow them to sue if their information had been mishandled. 

Merkel has pressed for a no-spying pact with the U.S., but the Obama administration has repeatedly ruled out that type of agreement.

Tags Angela Merkel Germany National Security Agency Verizon Communications
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