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France urges EU privacy rules amid NSA scandal

AFP/The Local · 21 Oct 2013, 17:57

Published: 21 Oct 2013 17:57 GMT+02:00

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French President François Hollande "will ask the European Union to settle the question of data privacy," Fabius said after Paris reacted angrily to reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) secretly monitored tens of millions of phone calls in France.

Already on the agenda of the summit, on Thursday and Friday, is Europe's digital future, but Fabius said that while the economic reasoning for this was important, "it is not possible to develop [Europe's] digital sphere without protecting personal data."

The latest spying allegations leaked by former US security contractor Edward Snowden, published in French daily Le Monde and German weekly Der Spiegel, also claimed that the NSA hacked into former Mexican President Felipe Calderon's email account.

The data privacy component in the EU's digital agenda has so far been focused on major web organisations like Google or Facebook.

France on Monday summoned the US ambassador over the issue, which overshadowed a visit to Paris by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Paris was entitled to feel outraged.

"I understand the outrage and the anger in France at spying actions wholeheartedly – that is not how it should work between partners, between friends," he said.

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"It is important that everything will be clarified," he told reporters in Luxembourg. "That concerns France, that concerns other countries and especially Germany."

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AFP/The Local (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

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