Reports: German government to drop Verizon because of U.S. spying

It will shift to Deutsche Telekom after revelations about NSA eavesdropping

The German government is reportedly dropping Verizon Communications as a service provider because of worries about U.S. spying.

The government will shift all services provided by Verizon to Deutsche Telekom by the end of 2015. It had been reviewing its communications contracts already, but concerns about possible spying by the U.S. National Security Agency helped to tip the scales against Verizon, the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets reported.

Germany's move is the latest evidence that revelations about NSA eavesdropping are damaging U.S. companies' overseas business.

Verizon provides Internet access to some German federal agencies and helps to run a network that links them, the Journal said. The government's contracts with Verizon had been exposed recently in the media and caused an uproar because of reports of NSA eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Those reports, based on information disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, brought additional scrutiny to Verizon's government contracts.

The change is being made partly because of indications that the U.S.-based carrier is required to do certain things for the NSA, a German Interior Minister spokesman said, according to the Associated Press.

"Verizon Germany is a German company and we comply with German law," said Detlef Eppig, Managing Director of Verizon Germany, in a prepared statement provided by Verizon. The U.S. government cannot access Verizon customer information stored outside the U.S., he said, pointing to a Jan. 24 Verizon blog entry.

Last month, Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers told President Barack Obama that reports of the NSA putting surveillance tools in U.S.-made networking gear could hurt sales. Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and other companies have also warned spying jitters could slow the uptake of new technologies such as cloud computing. The revelations are making some enterprises more careful about cloud deployments but hasn't deterred them from taking that path, CIOs said earlier this year.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Government use of ITtelecommunicationCarrierssecuritygovernmentVerizon Communications

More about CiscoCiscoDeutsche TelekomHewlett-Packard AustraliaHPIDGLawsonMicrosoftNational Security AgencyNSAVerizonVerizonWall Street

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Stephen Lawson

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts