The European Parliament has just voted on a comprehensive bill to express its massive disapproval of U.S. mass spying on ordinary citizens. In the bill, it calls for suspension of trade talks, suspension of data sharing, suspension of U.S. corporate rights to European data, and calls for the general principle of only surveilling suspects to be honored. This follows a several-months-long continuous inquiry into United States spying practices.
While the exact wording of the finished bill is still being prepared, as it looks after all amendments have been rolled in, there are a few things we already know that the European Parliament stated today:
- The European Parliament disapproves of mass surveillance of everybody, all the time. Surveillance is reserved for people under concrete suspicion of a crime.
- The European Parliament desires to suspend negotiations of the protectionist agreement TTIP until the United States issues credible guarantees of respecting fundamental citizen rights of European people. More specifically, it declares that it will vote to kill such an agreement (“withhold consent”) unless these conditions are met.
- The Europarl decides it wants to terminate the Safe Harbor agreement about transfer of European personal data, when such data is transferred to U.S. corporations, under the condition of proper protection and safeguards of such data. (It’s become increasingly apparent that U.S. corporations completely ignore the obligations of said agreement.)
- The so-called Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme, also known as the SWIFT agreement, which transfers data on bank transactions to the United States, is to be suspended immediately.
- Calls for a European program to protect whistleblowers.
- More European IT solutions, located in European jurisdictions, to protect European sensitive data from the spying of United States. (This ties well in to Chancellor Merkel’s calls for a European-only storage cloud, designed specifically for data to not become available to the NSA.)
- Named countries are strongly criticized for the way they conduct mass surveillance and violate civil liberties: United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden.
Ironically, while there was a call to protect whistleblowers in the bill, an amendment to offer asylum to Edward Snowden – who, after all, set this ball rolling – was not carried. Even more ironically, the same people who accuse Snowden of ulterior motives for taking refuge in Russia are the same people who stubbornly refuse him asylum in Europe.
More information follows as the full text gets published.
Source: Hax (in Swedish).
Image: U.S. President Nixon looking into the distance with binoculars, smiling. Photo courtesy of NASA.