Apple to Spend Almost $2 Billion on European Data Centers

Apple plans to build green data centers in Denmark and Ireland amidst data privacy concerns

2 min read
An Apple symbol.
Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg/Getty

Hoping to better satisfy customers data privacy desires Apple looks likely to join other U.S. companies in flocking to Europe’s shores. On Monday, the U.S. tech giant announced plans to spend US $1.9 billion on new data centers in Denmark and Ireland that would go live in 2017.

The move comes in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks that revealed the U.S. National Security Agency’s efforts to cast a surveillance net in the world’s digital data streams. Snowden’s leaks included information about NSA spies secretly tapping the communication links between the servers of U.S. companies such as Google and Yahoo. As a result, several firms have begun setting up data centers in Europe so that they can reassure customers about data privacy within Europe’s tighter regulatory environment, said Patrick Van Eecke, a lawyer specializing in e-commerce at DLA Piper, in a Wall Street Journal interview.

Europe has proven attractive for companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Salesforce because of its strict data privacy rules that protect the personal information of customers. Such rules may only grow more strict after the Snowden leaks revealed the extent of the spying done by the NSA and its UK counterpart; the European Union is debating the possibility of fines for data protection rule violations of up to $114 million or 5 percent of revenue, according to the Wall Street Journal 

The shock of the revelations about the NSA has also compelled some European countries to consider taking even more drastic steps. Germany has lead the charge in trying to shield local Internet communications by routing data packets in a way that avoids passing through U.S. or UK servers.

Apple is also taking the opportunity to make its European data centers go “green” by relying entirely upon renewable energy. Such data centers are notoriously power hungry, which is why researchers have worked on ways to boost energy efficiency and find colder geographical locations that reduce the energy costs of constantly running cooling systems.

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How the FCC Settles Radio-Spectrum Turf Wars

Remember the 5G-airport controversy? Here’s how such disputes play out

11 min read
This photo shows a man in the basket of a cherry picker working on an antenna as an airliner passes overhead.

The airline and cellular-phone industries have been at loggerheads over the possibility that 5G transmissions from antennas such as this one, located at Los Angeles International Airport, could interfere with the radar altimeters used in aircraft.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

You’ve no doubt seen the scary headlines: Will 5G Cause Planes to Crash? They appeared late last year, after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration warned that new 5G services from AT&T and Verizon might interfere with the radar altimeters that airplane pilots rely on to land safely. Not true, said AT&T and Verizon, with the backing of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which had authorized 5G. The altimeters are safe, they maintained. Air travelers didn’t know what to believe.

Another recent FCC decision had also created a controversy about public safety: okaying Wi-Fi devices in a 6-gigahertz frequency band long used by point-to-point microwave systems to carry safety-critical data. The microwave operators predicted that the Wi-Fi devices would disrupt their systems; the Wi-Fi interests insisted they would not. (As an attorney, I represented a microwave-industry group in the ensuing legal dispute.)

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