Data traveling inside and outside of the US is subject to scrutiny and surveillance by the NSA under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In fact, as we already know, sometimes even data inside of the U.S. is open to that kind of snooping. However, the practice is worrisome for leaders of the European Union, who suspect that the NSA’s surveillance tactics will hurt trade potential for companies selling services internationally, particularly to the United States, according to a new report from Reuters.
The U.S. National Security Agency’s mass surveillance is a trade barrier for European Internet companies trying to provide services in the United States, a top EU official said on Monday. U.S. citizens are deterred from using European e-mail providers because they do not get the same protection as they would by using U.S. providers, said Paul Nemitz, a director in the European Commission’s justice department. “The law … which empowers the NSA to basically grab everything which comes from outside the United States, is a real trade barrier to a European digital company to provide services to Americans inside America,” Nemitz, who is overseeing an overhaul of the EU’s 20-year-old data protection rules, said at a conference on data protection in Paris. In other words, an American in the United States using a European service does not have the same level of protection as he would if he used an American service. Using a European service, his communication is transmitted outside the United States, so it is subject to interception.