For German companies, industrial espionage has historically been a problem related to the east, with Russia and China topping the list of security concerns year in and year out. But not so much anymore.
While China remains up near the top for secret stealing, the US has vaulted into the headlines in a very bad way for European businesses, and among German companies especially is now far ahead of Russia as a spy threat.
This is a problem that’s been around for awhile, and the European Union has been investigating the ECHELON surveillance schemes against their member nations for over a decade now. But revelations of dramatic NSA overreach in other surveillance has major companies convinced the problem could be far bigger than they’d ever imagined.
And that’s a real problem for the Obama Administration as it tries to negotiate a high-profile trade pact with the European Union, as even if most EU citizens don’t have the pull to make their concerns about US surveillance amount to any real policy changes, major companies surely do, and getting the EU parliament to sign off on any deals with the US that don’t address these concerns is going to be a monumental task.
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