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Online privacy: Germany seeks protection for internet users

The German Government has indicated it is investigating providing greater protection for internet users in Germany in the wake of the revelations about US and UK internet snooping, reports Reuters.

State-backed communications giant Deutche Telekom, which owns the T-Mobile brand in the UK, wants other German companies to work with it to shield German internet traffic from foreign intelligence agencies.

The news comes in a week when the German Government revealed that it had evidence that Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone had been monitored by foreign security agencies.

Reuters understands that any protection offered would only extend to German internet servers, so would not cover Germans using foreign hosted sites such as Google and Facebook.

It is also thought the Germans could encounter problems when trying to collaborate with other network providers, mostly because they do not operate along national borders.

Security researchers say that segregating the internet along national borders will hinder its efficacy as a driver for economic growth and modernisation.

In an interview with Reuters, Torsten Gerpott, a business professor at the University of Duisberg-Essen said: "It is internationally without precedent that the internet traffic of a developed country bypasses the servers of another country."

"The push of Deutsche Telekom is laudable, but it's also a public relations move," he added.

Chancellor Merkel this week met with other EU leaders to discuss the matter, and claimed that both France and Germany would be seeking a 'no bugging' agreement with the United States before the end of 2013.