About 15 years ago the USA and Europe came up with the US-EU Safe Harbor agreement which has allowed US companies to store European data legally. The agreement was invalidated by the European courts on October 6th.
There have been several interesting developments since then, most notably a rather innovative move by Microsoft yesterday.
In the mean time, here in Redmond, “Microsoft announced today that it is opening a data center in Germany which will be owned and controlled by Deutsche Telecom, a German company. The effect of this move is that any requests to access data in this facility will have to go through Deutsche Telecom and the German government.
This move by Microsoft is in direct response to the NSA/Snowden revelations and their inability to protect customer data from US intelligence. According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella âWe need to earn both trust of our global customers and operate globally. Thatâs at the cornerstone of how we’ve done business and how we will continue to do business.”
Do we want to entrust the privacy of every man, woman and child in Europe to the German Government?
Speaking personally, I don’t know whether this is jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, as I recall it was in 1933 that the US through IBM (the Microsoft of its day) supplied what was then the latest state of the art Hollerith punch card technology to the German Government to assist them in building their dream of a Greater Europe. We are all aware of how this equipment was used by the Gestapo. IBM and its subsidiaries helped create enabling technologies, step-by-step, from the identification and cataloguing programs of the 1930s to the selections of the 1940s. IBM technology was used to organize nearly everything in Germany and then Nazi Europe, from the identification of the Jews in censuses, registrations, and ancestral tracing programs to the running of railroads and organizing of concentration camp slave labour.
That move was initially opposed by the German people, until they were silenced with the now famous quote by Joseph Goebbels “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”.
I leave you to decide on whether this move by Microsoft is good or potentially dangerous, but bearing in mind that as Microsoft software operates on approximately 90% of all user computer equipment, and is now specifically built to spy extensively on its users with Windows 10, with that spyware being retroactively applied to Windows 7/Windows 8 and Window 8.1 through updates, I have no doubt of its potential value to Germany and the (EU) European Project in 2015.