EU Parliament: No EU-US trade agreement without safe data

European Parliament. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) joint meeting. (EP Audiovisual Services, 20/2/2014).

European Parliament. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) joint meeting. (EP Audiovisual Services, 20/2/2014).

The European Parliament, in a strongly worded and overwhelmingly voted resolution, set a definite condition for the legislature’s approval of the currently under negotiation EU-US free trade agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP). The condition is that American NSA’s mass surveillance practices be completely stopped. The relevant Press release clearly states that “Parliament’s consent to the EU-US trade deal “could be endangered” if blanket mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) does not stop”.

The resolution, in which MEPs set out their findings and recommendations to boost EU citizens’ privacy, was backed by 544 votes to 78, with 60 abstentions. “The Snowden revelations gave us a chance to react. I hope we will turn those reactions into something positive and lasting into the next mandate of this Parliament, a data protection bill of rights that we can all be proud of”, said Civil Liberties inquiry rapporteur Claude Moraes (S&D, UK). “This is the only international inquiry into mass surveillance. (…) Even Congress in the United States has not had an inquiry”, he added.

No trade agreement if…

At this point, it must be noted that last Tuesday, the Chairwoman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein, accused the country’s Central Intelligence Agency, the infamous CIA, of spying on Congressional computers, violating in this way the Constitution and the laws. In such a climate, the European Parliament’s intervention acquires a new momentum directly threatening the already controversial and heavily criticized TTIP.
The Parliament resolution bluntly states that the legislative, “should withhold its consent to the final Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal with the US unless it fully respects EU fundamental rights.” This consent “could be endangered as long as blanket mass surveillance activities and the interception of communications in EU institutions and diplomatic representations are not fully stopped”, notes the text.

Spying for business secrets

MEPs also call for the “immediate suspension” of the Safe Harbour privacy principles (voluntary data protection standards for non-EU companies transferring EU citizens’ personal data to the US). These principles “do not provide adequate protection for EU citizens” say MEPs, urging the US to propose new personal data transfer rules that meet EU data protection requirements. The Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) deal should also be suspended “until allegations that US authorities have access to EU citizens’ bank data outside the agreement are clarified”, the MEPs said.

Those two deals constitute the current institutional base agreed between the two sides, for the treatment of EU citizens’ data by American private businesses and government agencies. Press reports have claimed that under the pretext of terrorist threats more than one US government agencies are spying on European Union businesses, with the only target to steal crucial technical and marketing information. The information is then passed under dark procedures to the interested US companies.

In view of this reality, the EU Parliament estimates that whistleblowers should be protected and the information they convey be fully exploited. Actually, the MEPs propose the institutionalization of a “European whistle-blower protection programme”, which should pay particular attention to the “complexity of whistle-blowing in the field of intelligence”. EU countries are also asked to consider granting whistleblowers international protection from persecution.

EU countries also do it

Of course the legislators didn’t turn a blind eye to allegations regarding mass surveillance activities of some EU member states. To this effect, they asked the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Poland to clarify those allegations; the resolution stresses that “including potential agreements between intelligence services and telecoms firms on access to and exchange of personal data and access to transatlantic cables – and their compatibility with EU laws”.

The Parliamentarian also asked the above mentioned and some more EU countries “to review their national laws and to ensure that their intelligence services are subject to parliamentary and judicial oversight and that they comply with fundamental rights obligations”. All EU countries in question are the UK, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

The Civil Liberties Committee inquiry into mass surveillance of EU citizens began in September 2013. A total of 16 hearings have been held since then.

 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

7 steps to becoming a ‘CEO Academy’

‘All atrocity crimes are preventable’ and can never be justified – UN chief

How to help companies become global defenders of LGBTI rights

Can North Korea and the U.S. strike a nuclear deal?

Antarctica: the final coronavirus-free frontier. But will it stay that way?

Joris in Indonesia

Civilians suffering due to sanctions must be spared ‘collective punishment’ urges UN rights expert

Negotiated two-State solution still ‘the only option’ for Palestine: Guterres

COVID-19: What to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 6 April

‘Continuing absence’ of political solution to Israel-Palestine conflict ‘undermines and compounds’ UN efforts to end wholesale crisis

Eurozone bank rescues ‘a la carte’ until 2015 then only bail-ins

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission receives mandate to begin negotiations with the UK

EU to scrutinise foreign direct investment more closely

Is this really it for the gig economy? Read on

“InvestEU”: MEPs support new programme to boost financing for jobs and growth

Kazakhstan continues to push for a nuclear-free world

Scientists now think air pollution is fuelling violent crime

Why are wildfires getting worse?

Everything you need to know about water

230 Junior Entrepreneurs and over 70 guests attended the International Congress on “Entrepreneurial Skills for Youth”

Latest Coronavirus (Covid-19) briefing from the World Health Organisation – key takeaways

We can make sure Globalization 4.0 leaves no one behind. This is how

Yellen and Draghi tell Trump and markets not to expedite the next crisis

Business uncertainty rises as US grants only temporary exception to EU for steel and aluminium tariffs

Climate change will shrink these economies fastest

Climate change: Direct and indirect impacts on health

Europe is no longer an innovation leader. Here’s how it can get ahead

UN panel to rally global political will to tackle internal displacement crisis

Universal Health Care: can it exist only in utopic society?

How transparency can help the global economy to grow

European Commission adopts rules to ensure a smooth transition to its next President and the next College of Commissioners

UN welcomes ‘milestone’ release of 833 Nigerian children from anti-Boko Haram force

Blockchain is facing a backlash. Can it survive?

Where labour costs the most (and least) in the European Union

Welfare of transported animals: MEPs urge EU states to do a better job

Accountability in Sudan ‘crucial’ to avoid ‘further bloodshed’, says UN rights office

Faith can overcome religious nationalism. Here’s how

GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa: Rise of the Digital Citizen, Kigali 16 – 18 July 2019, in association with The European Sting

New rules for temporary border controls within the Schengen area

How this one change can help people fight poverty

Italian elections: a long political limbo is ahead

Antimicrobial resistance: how can an intersectoral approach between society and healthcare professionals be developed and applied?

How fixing broken food systems can help us meet all the SDGs

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

These are the regions where people have most faith in their schools

COVID-19 and the pursuit of financial inclusion in Pakistan

These European countries produce the most plastic waste per person

Preparing Africa for ravages of climate change ‘cannot be an afterthought’ – COP24

Elections results: Austerity’s black to prevail in the new multicolored German government

Removing deadly mines means ‘new horizons and hope’, clears a path to SDGs, says UN chief

A call for a new crop of innovators

EU: Centralised economic governance and bank supervision may lead to new crisis

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on guidance for national courts when handling disclosure information

How LA plans to be 1.6°C cooler by 2050

Breaking news: Juncker’s Commission mutant trojan horse is on the loose in Strasbourg

Take action on air pollution to save lives, and the planet, urges UN chief

How we overhauled healthcare amid Venezuela’s crisis

Is your smart home as safe as you think?

Everything you need to know about Ireland’s economy (Post Brexit)

Resolving banks with depositors’ money?

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s