Teufelsberg, a hill in Greater Berlin, formerly served as an NSA listening station. Michael In an interview with a major newspaper in her home country, Germany’s justice minister said on Monday that she favored even stronger European Union rules that would enhance data protection.

And Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger took her stance even further: “United States companies that don’t abide by these standards [they] should be denied doing business in the European market.” Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told Die Welt (Google Translate) that Germany—which has longstanding tough data protection standards—should be the yardstick for the entire 28-nation bloc. The justice minister did not elaborate as to what envisioned penalties would look like.

And sure, it seems highly unlikely that Germany would be able to ban a large American tech company like Google or Facebook, both of which have been named in recent leaks as companies that provide information to the National Security Agency. On Monday, in another interview with the same newspaper (Google Translate), German High Court Justice Hans-Jürgen Papier defended the German government’s relationship with the American spy services.

He said that a country has a “basic responsibility to protect its citizens from the attacks of foreign powers” but noted that a state “can only be responsible for doing things that it has the legal power, and is able, to do.”     

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