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German government cancels Verizon contract over NSA concerns

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Verizon just suffered a major setback at the hands of the NSA. Bloomberg is reporting that the German government is declining to renew its contracts with the telecom giant, primarily because of concerns over the company's collusion with NSA surveillance. "There are indications that Verizon is legally required to provide certain things to the NSA," German Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate told Bloomberg, "and that's one of the reasons the cooperation with Verizon won't continue." The new contracts will require firms to confirm that they're not legally obligated to share data with foreign governments, a promise that Verizon might not be able to make.

Tech companies have complained in the past that the stigma of NSA spying has made products harder to market overseas, but Verizon's contract troubles are more tangible and direct than any previous report. The contract itself was relatively minor, covering internal communications between German lawmakers, but strikes a chord after earlier documents revealed that the NSA had monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone since 2002. Later leaks showed Merkel was far from alone: more than 100 other world leaders have been targeted for similar surveillance.