Europe needs to build its own cloud services

Consumers turn a blind eye to American spying as they have no other option, says F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen

Jane McCallion
30 Apr 2014

Europe needs to build its own cloud services if it wants to avoid being spied on by American secret services, one security expert has claimed.

Scandals such as the NSA's Prism programme aren't the fault of "misbehaving" spies, but should be blamed on Europe's lack of viable alternatives to US cloud services, and our dependency on American-controlled networks, according to F-Secure's Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen, speaking at InfoSec Europe in London.

He added that even though we're now aware of American spying activities, we still continue to use US consumer cloud services, as there's virtually no other option.

When we have the rare European success stories, we end up selling them to the Americans

Hypponen also criticised the lack of support for European tech entrepreneurs, saying the first thing they do when chasing success and funding is move to Silicon Valley.

"An amazingly large amount of the American web companies were founded by immigrants," Hypponen said.

"When we have the rare European success stories, we end up selling them to the Americans," he added, citing the sale of Nokia to Microsoft.

Information innovations

Hypponen said that advances in storage and digitisation make it easier to leak data, pointing out that Chelsea Manning fit 400,000 documents – which became known as the Iraq War Logs – onto a CD.

In pre-internet, pre-digitisation times, moving that amount of information on paper would have required a lorry, he said.

"A microSD card can hold 1TB of data – not 1GB, 1TB. You could easily put that in your mouth and walk out with it," he said.

"Governments use all this technology to watch over us. But that same technology also means we can watch over them," he concluded.

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