THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT is miffed about data snarfing by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and has threatened the country with an end to the Safe Harbor agreement.
The European Parliament has reeled back from successive revelations about surveillance by the US, and has decided that enough is enough.
It warned the US that it might withdraw Safe Harbor privileges and prevent the free movement of data between the two continents.
Today the European Parliament ended its six month investigation of NSA surveillance and decided that it does not like it. The majority of MEPs voted in favour of recommendations to boost European citizens' privacy. That vote carried 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.
"This is the only international inquiry into mass surveillance... Even Congress in the United States has not had an inquiry."
The European Parliament passed a resolution saying that Safe Harbor should be suspended and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should be postponed. These should stay in a holding pattern until the US "fully respects EU fundamental rights".
The Safe Harbor agreement is no good, it said, because it does not do enough to protect European citizens. The European Parliament warned that it could not support the TTIP while data protection is at risk.
It said that its consent would be "endangered as long as blanket mass surveillance activities and the interception of communications in EU institutions and diplomatic representations are not fully stopped".
The onus is on the US to make changes and the European Parliament said that the US should suggest new data transportation rules before the Safe Harbor agreement is reestablished.
There needs to be talk about surveillance in Europe too, and the European Parliament asked the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Poland to respond to allegations of engaging in "mass surveillance".
The UK, along with eight other countries that make up what is called the Nine Eyes network, has been asked to comment on allegations regarding surveillance.
Whistleblower protection was mooted and supported, and European countries were asked to give safe passage for people that leak important information.
The European Parliament also recommended that cloud data storage and data security systems be developed in European nations.
Last October Claude Moraes, the Labour MEP for London and spokesperson for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament for Home Affairs and Justice, told the INQUIRER that Edward Snowden's revelations have exposed how broken the relationship is.
"[It is] clear that the Safe Harbor agreement in fact never has guaranteed sufficient protection given both the lack of compliance by organizations and the lack of enforcement by the FTC," he said. "It can no longer be considered to be a viable mechanism for cross-border [data] flows from the [European Union] to the US."
Today Moraes supporters have congratulated him on the result of the vote. µ
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