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Macron wants EU power to tap data companies on counter terrorism

(Bloomberg) -- French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said that if elected he will push for a European Union initiative allowing governments to requisition information from major technology companies such as Google and Apple Inc. to bolster counter-terrorism efforts.

“If they don’t cooperate, they will one day have to face their complicity” with terrorists, Macron said at a press conference in Paris on Monday. “It’s essential that these companies accept a system of legal requisition.”

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Macron said that he had discussed the matter with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their recent meeting in Berlin, and that it will be addressed at the Group of Seven leaders’ summit hosted by Italy next month, after the French election.

Apple, Google and Amazon.com Inc. were among the tech leaders that rallied behind Microsoft Corp. last year in its battle to stop the U.S. government from conducting so-called sneak-and-peek searches of customer emails. The companies argued the future of mobile and cloud computing is at stake if customers can’t trust that their data will remain private.

“A lot of the radicalization and plotting happen on the web and on social media,” Macron said. “The Internet is a decisive element to fight terrorism and we must have frank talks with the big technology companies.”

France will raise the matter at NATO, according to Macron, who said that he wants a “cyber army” to be part of Europe’s defense capability.

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