BEHANCE - Revelations about U.S. digital eavesdropping have fanned concerns about Internet privacy and may complicate U.S. attempts to write rules enshrining the free flow of data into trade pacts with European and Pacific trading partners. As more and more consumers and businesses shop and sign up for services online, the IT industry is working to fend off rising digital protectionism it sees as threatening an e-commerce marketplace estimated at up to $8 trillion US a year.“Restrictions on information flows are trade barriers,” Google’s executive chairperson Eric Schmidt said at a Cato Institute event last month, warning that the worst possible outcome would be for the Internet to turn into “Splinter net.”

The unease of U.S. technology companies has mounted in lockstep with rising worries overseas about data privacy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel — a target of U.S. spying — has called for a European Internet protected from Washington’s snooping. Brazil and the European Union plan to lay their own undersea communications cable to reduce reliance on the United States. And other countries are showing a preference for storing data on local servers rather than in the United States.U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledged this week that it would take time to win back the trust of even friendly governments.

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