The European Commission and the US promise that personal data that is interchanged for enforcement purposes, will be better protected.
Robust cooperation between the EU and the US to fight crime and terrorism is crucial to keep Europeans safe. But all exchanges of personal data, such as criminal records, names or addresses, needs to be governed by strong data protection rules. This is what the “Umbrella Agreement”, as named by the European Commission, will ensure.
Once in force, this agreement will guarantee a high level of protection of all personal data when transferred between law enforcement authorities across the Atlantic. It will in particular guarantee that all EU citizens have the right to enforce their data protection rights in US courts – as called for in the political guidelines of President Juncker last year.
Under certain conditions, civilians get the right to view their personal data that is exchanged, although it is unclear what these conditions exactly are. In addition, the EU and US promise to not use the exchanged data for other purposes than criminal enforcement and they will not store the data for longer than is needed. This retention period has to be announced publically by the authorities. The exchange of data to other 3rd parties is prohibited unless permission is granted by the country of origin where the data came from.
However, the agreement will only go in force when the US signs the Judicial Redress Bill. This bill is part of the negotiations initiated by Washington to regain the thrust of Europe in the US, after it got damaged by the revelations by Snowden of the NSA eavesdropping on Europeans and especially European politicians. But not only civilians, also businesses are getting spied on in order to gain their secrets.
–I think we already passed the stage where we should trust the European Commission -or other instances that fight this issue trough political ways-, to protect our freedom, rights and privacy. Even though they act out of good faith, it isn’t helping. It’s a lost cause, as long as government- and intelligence agencies like the NSA (and the Dutch AIVD) have the technical capabilities to infringe our privacy and limit our freedoms, they will continue to do so one way or another.
If you don’t want to be spied or monitored on by these agencies or other parties, there is only one solution: 100% encryption on everything you do. Every communication, website views, payments, contacts and so on, do everything with end-to-end encryption. You have to take measures on your own and don’t let your security and privacy dependent on the seemingly good will of other, third parties. Not only civilians but also businesses should take these measures to avoid industrial espionage. Of course, the other side of this discussion is public safety, for as spying could also reveal possible terrorists and other threats.. What would you prefer?
Author: Hidde van Heijst