August 29, 2018 / 12:30 PM / 9 months ago

Germany, seeking independence from U.S., pushes cyber security research

BERLIN, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Germany on Wednesday announced a new agency to fund cutting-edge research on cyber security and to 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.

“It is our joint goal is for Germany to take a leading role in cyber security on an international level,” Seehofer told a news conference with Defence Minister Ursula von 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 cyber attacks on its government and industry computer networks, with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea identified as the biggest threats.

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

“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.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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