Viviane Reding, justice commissioner of the European Commission
The European commission has raised concerns directly with the US administration about the threat posed to the privacy of EU citizens from the sort of data monitoring highlighted by the leaking of NSA documents to the Guardian by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Viviane Reding, the vice-president of the commission who is in charge of justice, challenged the US attorney general, Eric Holder, at a meeting in Washington last month and will raise the matter again at an EU-US meeting on Thursday in Dublin…
The intervention by the commission follows a warning by a senior member of the European parliament that the EU would redouble its efforts to strengthen the proposed EU-US agreement, in the light of the Guardian disclosures. Hannes Swoboda, leader of the socialist group in the parliament, told the FT: “With all the information we’ve found out in recent days about how easily the US spies on people’s private data I think it will be difficult for the Americans to oppose a strong data protection agreement.
“This issue is very critical for us in Europe … There will be growing resistance against an agreement with the US unless there are some clear guarantees from their side that our European principles of data protection are respected.”
Anyone else remember back when our Presidents claimed world leadership in privacy, protecting civil liberties of Americans?
Reding’s spokeswoman was critical of some EU member states, believed to include Britain, which she said showed little appetite for protecting privacy, and were pressing ahead with introducing new powers to give states greater access to data.
Mina Andreeva said: “National security is a matter for the member states, but this case goes to show that a clear legal framework for the protection of personal data is not a luxury or not a constraint: it is a fundamental right…
While our politicians prattle about how great we are at avoiding slippery slopes, we get to watch the Bill of Rights disappear under the opportunist muck of what has become the military-industrial-security complex. Guaranteeing our safety by taking away our privacy.