Tech

Kim Dotcom: Have EU create Google alternative

By Michael Mayday , Jun 09, 2013 07:10 PM EDT

Internet celebrity Kim Dotcom has called on the EU to create an open source alternative to Google's search engine.

That's in response to the recent revelations of PRISM, a joint National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation cybersecurity program capable of tapping directly into the servers of nine major tech organizations.

One of those organizations happens to be the Internet search giant, Google. Google has denied that it has provided the U.S. government with direct access to its servers, and claims that any information handed over to law agencies require a warrant or a subpoena.

But its apparent inclusion in the PRISM program is evidence enough for some that Google doesn't go to great lengths to protect its users from government surveillance, and an alternative search engine is needed based outside the influence of U.S. national security agencies. Google's next biggest competitors, Yahoo and Microsoft, are both U.S. based companies, and were also - apparently - included in the PRISM program.

"I ask the European Parliament to come up with an incentive program funding for a EU search engine to compete with Google," Dotcom said in a tweet, The Daily Caller reports.

And Dotcom's wish is a distinct possibility. When news of PRISM broke, European regulators reacted with anger, saying they long suspected U.S. web tech giants of such activities with the U.S. government.

"I am amazed at the flippant way in which companies such as Google and Microsoft seem to treat their users' data," one German politician, Joerg-Uwe Hahn, said in an interview with a local newspaper, according to The Raw Story. "Anyone who doesn't want that to happen should switch providers."

Indeed, many European politicians are calling for further regulations in response to the leaks. But Europe already has laws restricting and protecting the export of user data to overseas countries little data protection, like the U.S., but the efficacy of those laws are in question.

Some also pointed out that charging the EU with developing an alternate search engine would simply mean replacing governmental control over a company. After all, investors typically do have a say in how a business is run. But, as Dotcom explains, that's not always the case.

"open source? funding doesn't mean control. unfortunately twitter only allows so many characters. We need a google alternative," Dotcom tweeted.

Europe lacks a large Internet-oriented industry, or at least one which could stand toe-to-toe with U.S.-based giants. But the political region's growing list of complaints with U.S. services might provide the incentive of creating a competitive industry.

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