Citing concerns over the NSA’s wiretapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel and other top officials’ phones, the German Interior Ministry announced Thursday that it will not renew its contract with Verizon to provide service for government ministries.
Last year, news stories revealed that the NSA had spied on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone and Germany has been a vocal and consistent critic of the NSA’s broad powers.
As part of an effort to revamp its secure communications networks, the country will instead rely on Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, Reuters reported.
“There are indications that Verizon is legally required to provide certain things to the NSA, and that’s one of the reasons the cooperation with Verizon won’t continue,” said German Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate.
Telecommunication providers wanting to do business with the German government from now on will have to sign a contract to confirm that they’re not legally required to share information with foreign countries, according to Businessweek.
Verizon is one of the first companies that can point to the NSA as a direct cause for a failed business deal. The Interior Ministry released a statement Thursday, saying “the ties revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms in the wake of the U.S. National Security Agency affair show that the German government needs a very high level of security for its critical networks.”