Europarl Suspends U.S. Trade Talks, Data Sharing Over Mass Surveillance

U.S. President Nixon looking through binoculars. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Banc de l'asteroid

    More postering from the patsies of the EU. Desperate for more freshly-printed US dollars in exchange for hard goods.

    Norway (not EU), Denmark, UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, and Italy are already giving everything away via FATCA IGAs. Everybody else gives away their passenger lists to USA for domestic flights. Also, those passenger lists go to RUssia.

    Sweden will soon give away its citizens with a FATCA IGA, to pay taxes and fines to USA.

    1. William Matheson

      So by what you’re saying, this is a meaningless formality by the European Union? Thank you for the addendum to this story.

      1. Rick Falkvinge

        A lot of it is posturing and declaring, but one part of it is crucially not: that the Europarl declares to withhold consent to the TTIP “free trade” agreement – more really a protectionism agreement – unless X happens.

        Under the Lisbon treaty (the latest version of the EU’s charter), the Europarl must give its consent to any trade agreement for it to take effect on a European-wide level. This is what scuttled ACTA, when the Europarl refused to consent.

        That the Europarl announces that consent will be withheld for this trade agreement is a very strong statement. It essentially kills the entire agreement unless the conditions are met.

    2. Anonymous

      Here is a checklist for how you can give away your Swedish Citizens to USA

      While you are enabling USA law to be implemente in Sweden

      Whilst giving up on the Swedish grundlag

      And Sweden will be spending $100’s of millions of USD upon implementation of USA law in Sweden, in order to collect taxes and penalties for USA on Swedish soil, from Swedish citizens living in Sweden.

      It’s a gift that Sweden is giving to USA. With nothing in return but empty promises.

      But the Swedish media is sleeping and the Swedish parties are falling over themselves to comply with the US administration, under the threat of 30% economic sanctions from USA.

      But, it’s better to be asleep while USA steals from Sweden

      1. gurrfield

        The media is not sleeping, it’s mostly bought.

        The readers don’t pay for reading “professional” news any longer – then clearly since the journalists get paid, the money must come from somewhere (else)…

        The situation with FRA law allowing NSA to spy on swedish citizens of interest really has made me improductive. Why bother if whatever I do on my computer can be spied on and put in international patents by someone I don’t have any connection to?

        With these spying organizations there is no reason to do your best – and the more people start realizing that, more and more creativity and productivity will be lost.

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  4. Anonymous

    considering that the UK is as deep in this surveillance as the USA, why has it not been chastised and made to stop also? getting the USA to follow what is wanted is no good at all if the UK (and others, but not perhaps so much) still carries on. after all, the UK is part of the EU but has been ‘spying on other EU members and passing that info on to the USA. bit of a traitorous attitude, or so it seems. and dont forget there could be a referendum on whether the UK stays in or leaves the EU. if it left, with all the info that GCHQ has been mining on EU member states, then joins the USA, it would be quite advantageous!

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  6. Anonymous

    to my mind, it’s no good just ‘suspending’ the talks involved in TTIP, they should be stopped completely and for good! there is nothing in that or any other USA based ‘Trade Deal’ that wont give the advantages to the USA, in all levels and for all time. dont those who are engaged in this aware that once accepted, there is no way out, period? i remember reading where all members of the deal had to be in agreeance before any changes could be made. once they have every other nation exactly where it wants them, do you honestly expect the USA to agree to changes that would remove some of the previously agreed terms? of course they wouldn’t, hence the ‘once tyou’re in, you screwed for good!!

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  8. Banc de l'asteroide B612

    Here Sweden is preparing to give names of Swedish citizens living in Sweden to USA, with support of each major party in Sweden

    Swedish grundlag can be broken

    Sweden probably should have acted in its own interest, but isn’t

    Sweden will simply go ahead, and approve that the Swedish government will help the USA to collect names of Swedish citizens living in Sweden and give their names over to the USA government, for nothing in return other than avoid 30% USA sanctions.

    Meanwhile, Sweden and the EU are barking about being spied upon while willfully giving over names, person numbers, asset values, and USA Social security numbers.

  9. Banc de l'asteroide B612

    AT 49:00, the EU states that they need to THANK America for being able to submit EU citizens to EU law. This is a new precedence—in this you can see how EU is like a female dog in heat, rolling over on its back and waiting for USA to rule Europe.

    Here is how the USA runs Europe, for which EU is so thankful.

    Denmark, UK, and Germany have already changed their laws for USA, giving up their citizens and banks to USA. Welcome to America!

  10. banc de l'asteroide B612

    That should have said

    AT 49:00, the EU states that they need to THANK America for being able to submit EU citizens to USA law.

    Not a single EU member at that meeting stood up for the innocent EU citizens and their innocent spouses that will be affected by this. (Except Sophie.)

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  12. Anonymous

    surely the hint was already there about how those in prime positions in the EU were sucking up to the USA? look at how de Gucht was trying to get ACTA in force in the EU! that would have handed complete control of just about everything over to the USA, with no way out! thankfully it was stopped. now we have the same thing back, just with a different name, TTIP! if the EU goes ahead and signs this, there will be no way out! anything that happens, will see the USA taking priority on EVERYTHING! we will be forced to do whatever it says and no way out. all the copyright, the protections and infringement policies of the USA will be enacted in the EU, with all the ridiculous punishments! and dont forget, that will include the ridiculous USA laws about simple things, like phone unlocking etc. we will be just more countries under the banner of the USA, but we wont get any benefit from it at all and wont have any way out!!

    1. Kevin

      I agree. You have given some great thoughts.

  13. Joshua Flint

    I think they’re just doing this because of the upcoming election. After the election, we’ll have to fight the LSA (=liberties sellout agreement) again.

  14. hdekleva

    This is all just part of an act. Of course, Europe would try to please US. They are friends after all. Allowing Snowden to take refuge in Europe would mean breaching their friendship.

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