updated 08:17 am EST, Wed November 27, 2013
Commission blasts US data-collection methods
The European Commission has called on the US to change its data-collection policies to "restore trust" that has been eroded by recent revelations detailing the National Security Agency's foreign spying programs. The Commission has outlined several recommendations, including an EU-US data protection "umbrella" agreement that would give European citizens the right to legally challenge the US government whenever their personal data is intercepted in the US.
"Massive spying on our citizens, companies and leaders is unacceptable," European Commission vice president Viviane Reding said in a statement, which was spotted by TechCrunch. "Citizens on both sides of the Atlantic need to be reassured that their data is protected and companies need to know existing agreements are respected and enforced."
The European Union is currently working on data-protection reforms that aim to bolster legal protections over personal data communicated between countries. The Commission has recommended several changes to the Safe Harbor rules that are designed to further protect against privacy infringement. The group also calls for data requests related to law-enforcement purposes to be handled by a formal legal framework.
"European citizens' trust has been shaken by the Snowden case, and serious concerns still remain following the allegations of widespread access by U.S. intelligence agencies to personal data," Reding added. "Today, we put forward a clear agenda for how the U.S. can work with the EU to rebuild trust, and reassure EU citizens that their data will be protected."
Although the Commission's wording is strong, it remains unclear if the US will agree to the full range of suggestions. Both parties have been involved in ongoing negotiations since 2011, however the Snowden leaks appear to have inspired the EU to consider broader reforms.