Germany seeks tech independence from US and China with new cybersecurity bureau

Interior minister Horst Seehofer said Berlin’s reliance on foreign technology meant the country was lagging behind

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2018, 10:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2018, 5:02am

Germany on Wednesday announced a new agency to fund cutting-edge research on cybersecurity and end its reliance on digital technologies from the United States, China and other countries.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told reporters that Germany needed new tools to become a key player in the field of cybersecurity and shore up European security and independence.

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“It is our joint goal is for Germany to take a leading role in cybersecurity on an international level,” Seehofer told a news conference with Defence Minister Ursula van der Leyen. “We have to acknowledge we’re lagging behind, and when one is lagging, one needs completely new approaches.”

The agency is a joint interior and defence ministry project.

Germany, like many other countries, faces a daily barrage of cyberattacks on its government and industry computer networks, which the West blames on Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Germany and other European countries also worry about their dependence on US technologies in the wake of the massive spying network revealed by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden in 2012, and the Patriot Act, which gave the US government broad powers to compel companies to provide data.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel was one of the people whose phone was bugged by the NSA, something former US president Barack Obama had approved.

“As a federal government we cannot stand idly by when the use of sensitive technology with high security relevance are controlled by other governments. We must secure and expand such key technologies of our digital infrastructure,” Seehofer said.