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Germany wants its own Internet

The NSA scandal has destroyed the mutual trust which helped build the Internet as we know it. Countries that are concerned with their citizens’ privacy have started looking for solutions to circumvent America’s ubiquitous surveillance. Germany is one of such countries.

The initiative to create a “German Internet” comes from Deutsche Telecom, the biggest German telecom operator and internet provider that has strong ties with the German government.

Commentators, who speculate that the reason behind the initiative are purely political, are probably right, but it doesn’t change the seriousness of Deutsche Telecom’s plans.

Of course, “German Internet” will face an uphill technological battle because creating a fully segregated web within the current open architecture of the Internet is quite difficult.

Also, no German company or agency will be able to protect the privacy of citizens who use services located outside the “German Internet” like Google or Facebook.

While there are some technical difficulties, experts agree that the task of creating a “German Internet” can be accomplished, if Deutsche Telecom is given enough resources and time.

One of the options is the signing of “routing agreements” with all German telecom operators that will make sure that all German internet traffic is “routed” in such a way that it avoids all American servers. If this solution is implemented it will slow down the German segment of the Internet but it will still be functional.

Thomas Kremer, the executive in charge of data privacy and legal affairs for Deutsche Telecom, told Reuters that DT needed to sign connection agreements with three additional operators to make a national routing possible. “If this were not the case, one could think of a legislative solution,” he added.

Given the recent scandal involving Angela Merkel’s phone calls that were intercepted by the NSA, it is safe to assume that Deutsche Telecom will get all the political support it needs.

If all countries concerned with the privacy of their citizen follow the German example, we will witness the “balkanization” of the once free and global Internet.

The world will rightly blame NSA for breaking one of the few things that proved that mutually beneficial international cooperation is indeed possible.


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