US corporations routinely ignore and abuse the strict privacy rules of European private citizen data, which they have accessed under the “safe harbor” agreement of the European Union. This surfaced in this week’s Europarl hearing on mass surveillance, causing the European Parliament’s rapporteur to call for a complete scrapping of the safe harbor arrangement right in the middle of the hearing. This is a further erosion of already-brittle trust in privacy respect by the United States.
At this Monday’s hearing on mass surveillance in the European Parliament, completely devastating information surfaced about the EU-to-US “safe harbor” on private citizen data. Here’s the details:
When private data on European Union citizens are transmitted to the United States, the corporations handling and managing that data must fulfil certain requirements, largely corresponding to European standards of protection of privacy.
In this Monday’s hearing, it surfaced that most U.S. corporations completely ignore this. And normally, they lie, and falsely state that they respect the safe harbor regulations. This is serious, as there practically isn’t any protection of private data at all in the United States.
And it gets worse. There are obvious connections between many U.S. corporations lying about safe harbor and the NSA mass surveillance. This means that private data that the European Union naïvely thought was safe is actually wide open to the U.S. surveillance apparatus.
The transgressions are so obvious that the European Parliament’s rapporteur (responsible manager) called for the entire safe harbor agreement to be scrapped right in the meeting.
(As a side note, it was planned that the EU commissioner responsible for IT matters, Neelie Kroes, should have been in the meeting. But she declined to.)