EU-U.S. exchanges of personal data: “Lack of transparency and enforcement on the U.S. side”

In a speech in the European Parliament on 15th January 2014 on the “Future of the Safe Harbour Agreement in the light of the NSA affair”, Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU Justice Commissioner accused the U.S. of a “Lack of transparency and enforcement” of the measures agreed upon. Ms Reding recalled that the aim of the “Safe Harbour” scheme is “to make sure that our rights are protected at all times according to EU standards, while securing the business advantages which flow from the ability to transfer personal data to the U.S. for processing there”.

She told the European Parliament that the Commission is addressing the deficiencies in the Safe Harbour and referred to the Commssion’s analysis of the regime which was published on 27 November 2013 and which concluded that the Safe Harbour must be made safer.

In her speech to the European Parliament, Ms Reding said:

“While the Safe Harbour decision allows limitations on protection when justified by national security, they must comply with the principles of proportionality and necessity. Massive collection of data by the authorities on anybody, without suspicion goes beyond what is proportionate and necessary.”

For background information on the position of the European Parliament and on the Safe Harbour regime, click here.

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