The new US interest in Europeans‘ privacy

Thanks to Edward Snowden, the EU-US negotiations on an agreement to protect individuals’ private data finally get into gear. The talks started in 2011, but 15 negotiating rounds have not lead anywhere until the NSA’s massive espionage activities were revealed.

A personal experience may illustrate how lukewarm the US interest in protecting the data of Europeans has been. At the RSA conference 2012 in San Francisco I had the chance of interviewing the cybersecurity coordinator of the Obama administration, Howard Schmidt, nicknamed „cyber czar“. When I asked him about the reasons why the privacy talks between the EU and the US were plodding along for such a long time, he refused to answer because he was not part of the negotiating team. Formally, this was a correct reaction, but I was surprised considering the emphasis on protecting privacy on the former cybersecurity website of the White House. Apparently, international data protection was not really a top priority of the US government at that time…

Reputable alternatives to Google

After the PRISM scandal a lot of people would like to use search engines that protect data better than Google does. Here are a few recommendations:
Both search engines were certified and awarded with the European privacy seal. The difference between them is that Ixquick makes use of the search results from a multitude of search engines whereas Startpage relies on the results from one search engine; both, without forwarding personal data.

Search engines serving the public good
Benefind donates 1 Cent to a charity of your choice for every second search.
Green search engines
It donates 80% of its income for protecting the rain forest.
The independent search engine is based on Google, but it compensates for the CO2 emission. Experts estimate that Google could be the world’s largest electricity consumer. Each Google query consumes as much electricity as it takes an energy-saving lamp to glow for an hour.

If you know other recommendable search engines, please add them as your comment!