BERLIN, June 27 Germany's lower house of
parliament has joined the government in cutting ties with U.S.
telecoms firm Verizon Communications Inc, in reaction to
a scandal last year over U.S. government spying and allegations
firms were handing over data.
According to information disclosed by former U.S.
intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Washington conducted
mass surveillance in Germany and even eavesdropped on Chancellor
Angela Merkel's mobile phone.
The Bundestag lower house of parliament plans to end its
contract with Verizon "as soon as possible," a government
spokesperson told reporters on Friday. It had been due to run
until the end of the year.
A day earlier the German Interior Ministry said the federal
government would not renew its contract with the firm. The
government needed a very high level of security, it said, and
the NSA row had revealed ties between foreign intelligence
agencies and companies.
Revelations of U.S. spying have prompted Germany to overhaul
its internal communications and secure government networks. The
decision to cut ties with Verizon are the first actions as a
result. The government does not use U.S. firms for any other IT
services, a spokesman said.
Deutsche Telekom AG DTEGn.DE is due to replace services
provided by Verizon for the government. It already oversees the
most sensitive communications between ministries or between the
government and German intelligence agencies.
Verizon said on Thursday its German unit, Verizon Germany,
is a German company and follows the country's laws.
The company has said it did not receive any demands from
Washington in 2013 for data stored in other countries.
(Reporting by Emma Anderson and Thorsten Severin; editing by