By Jan Philipp Albrecht - 20th June 2013
The trust in US cloud computing services is at a historic low after these leaks. It becomes more and more obvious that safe fundamental rights standards are a competitive advantage
Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP
The reported broad access to telephone and cloud data by US intelligence services violates the rule of law and democracy, writes Jan Philipp Albrecht.
The reported broad access to telephone and cloud data by US intelligence services is violating the rule of law and democracy.
Mass surveillance on EU citizens is also breaching the laws of the European Union and its member states. The National Security Agency (NSA) Prism programme was accessing and analysing personal data and private conversations by using a warrant following the FISA and Patriot Act.
Both are not in line with EU primary and secondary law.
The surveillance scandal hit the public in the middle of on-going negotiations on the EU data protection reform. The new regulation would also regulate the way how international service providers like Google and Yahoo deal with the personal data in the European Union.
And again, here is a direct link to the United States: According to a Financial Times report the Obama administration successfully lobbied the European commission to weaken its proposal for a data protection regulation to make sure US agencies were able to spy on Europeans.
The inter-service draft, sent in November 2011 by Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding to her colleagues, already contained a provision which required a legal foundation such as a mutual legal assistance treaty and an authorisation by the competent European data protection authority as a condition for the disclosure of user data to authorities in third countries.
This provision disappeared in the final Commissions proposal.
As rapporteur for this dossier I have proposed to re-introduce this provision in the data protection regulation.
Other amendments would introduce strong whistle blower protection or a warning for the users when their data leaves the EU and a demand for a special legal instrument for cloud data processing.
Now it is up to my colleagues in the European parliament and to ministers in Council to decide on this question.
The trust in US cloud computing services is at a historic low after these leaks. It becomes more and more obvious that safe fundamental rights standards are a competitive advantage.
If we really want to create a safe “European Cloud” we must not allow that our data protection rules are undermined by third states laws and practices.
Jan Philipp Albrecht is parliament's rapporteur on the data protection regulation and a member of the Greens/EFA group