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United States EU Privacy

EU May Forbid the Transfer of Personal Data To the US 202

An anonymous reader writes: As the Snowden revelations have shown, personal data stored in the United States of America is not protected from the US government, be it through warrantless eavesdropping or national security letters. In light of this, the general attorney for the Court of Justice of the European Union has just issued an opinion requiring the US to be removed from the list of "safe harbors", where the transfer of personal data of European citizens is permitted. If the court follows his opinion, the change will have deep impact in the operations of large transnational Internet companies, between a US government that wants to keep on spying, and European authorities that will punish them if they let it happen.
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EU May Forbid the Transfer of Personal Data To the US

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  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @12:29AM (#50594465) Homepage Journal

    The US needs to wake up to the fact that it doesn't set policy for the world, and that other jurisdictions have their own laws and regulations that US companies have to abide by if they want to do business there.

    Enough with jackboot "treaties" that the US doesn't even try to abide by after signing them. :(

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yep that is what the TPPA, TISA etc are all about. Shoring up US influence.

      The US does not know what to do when its no longer in charge, they are like the pushing little kid who has to make up all the rules of every game to ensure they win every time, and if they can't they don't want to play with everyone else.

    • by bug1 ( 96678 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @03:15AM (#50594951)

      The US needs to wake up to the fact that it doesn't set policy for the world,and that other jurisdictions have their own laws and regulations

      The US government happily violates its own constitution. Its expecting too much for any nation to have more respect for foreign laws than their own.

      • The US government happily violates its own constitution. Its expecting too much for any nation to have more respect for foreign laws than their own.

        A foreign government can do what the fuck it wants to it's own citizens - that's what being a sovereign nation means, after all - but the whole point is that it is one of the duties of a government to protect it's citizens from the actions of a foreign government. And that is what the EU's courts are forcing the EU's governments to to do, no matter how political

    • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Friday September 25, 2015 @04:11AM (#50595131)

      With all due respect, its not down to the US government to accept that US companies have to obey foreign laws - the conflict is something that solely needs to be handled by the companies in question, they have to decide how they can follow both sets of laws if required to.

      A US company operating in a foreign country doesn't suddenly fall outside US jurisdiction - if they do find themselves in conflict between the laws of the country they (or their owning umbrella company) are incorporated in and the laws of the country they are doing business in, then its up to the company to decide whether they can resolve that or leave one of the jurisdictions (stop doing business in that country or change the country of incorporation or ownership).

      The EU passing laws requiring foreign companies to solely follow EU jurisdiction doesn't solve anything - it doesn't stop the companies being in the jurisdiction of their home country, all it does is create further conflict.

      The only thing that can satisfy this situation are completely, entirely and utterly unconnected companies - Amazon SARL having no ownership or connection to Amazon.com Inc. If there is any ownership or similar connection between the two companies, its entirely legitimate for Amazon.com Inc's legal jurisdiction to cascade down the chain of ownership.

      • by msobkow ( 48369 )

        Jurisdiction of the head office does not affect the need to follow local regulations. Go ahead and try to sell a Japanese car in the US that doesn't meet US safety regulations or emissions requirements...

    • The US needs to wake up to the fact that it doesn't set policy for the world, and that other jurisdictions have their own laws and regulations that US companies have to abide by if they want to do business there.

      That goes both ways though, with those other countries businesses wanting to do business in the US which is a large enough market that EU (and other) businesses will put pressure on EU (and other) governments over time to allow the US to do what it wants.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Corporations don't comply with open European laws...... execs get fined (maybe)....

    Corporations don't comply with secret U$A laws........ execs get "rendition" to Federal prison.

    Which scenario do you think they'll choose ?

    • Re:Weigh it up. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2015 @12:47AM (#50594531)

      Or

      US corporation stay within the USA, missing out on doing business with 96% of the worlds population.

      At one point the USA made up about 60% of the worlds GDP, that meant doing business with the US.

      Now the US is about 1/3 of the worlds GDP, meaning more money can be made dealing with everyone else.

      The US is no longer able to dictate to the world, and that scares US politicians shitless, they don't know how to behave when not in charge.

      • Re:Weigh it up. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @01:06AM (#50594605) Homepage Journal

        This.

        There is no "right" for US corporations to participate in foreign markets. If they don't want to abide by the terms of a foreign nation's laws, they're free not to do business there.

        They are not free to impose US law on those nations.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by amiga3D ( 567632 )

          And then we get into a tit for tat situation. The US will make it hard for European Union corporations to do business here. It wont be good for anyone but the US has deep pockets even with the last two presidents presiding over a spending spree of biblical proportions. It's arguably more self sufficient than the EU. It'll be bad for the world in general. I expect there will be some sort of compromise way before anything like that happens though.

        • US companies would still be free to do business in the EU. They would just have to locate their servers in the EU.

          • Re:Weigh it up. (Score:4, Informative)

            by a_n_d_e_r_s ( 136412 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @05:09AM (#50595303) Homepage Journal

            Won't help. As long as they are US companies the US Courts think they can force them to divulge information stored in EU.

            From an actual court case still active against Microsoft.

            • At this rate, you're going to see a growing impetus to move the company headquarters overseas, whether to Europe or elsewhere. Leave a subsidiary in the US to deal with the US market, but keep the parent in Ireland or Switzerland or wherever. Yes, this is patently self-defeating for the US, as a whole and for the government, but it's nothing new. The US government (on both sides of the political aisle) has been doing a great job at encouraging companies to move their operations overseas - whether it's to us
        • Who is imposing US law on those nations? The US is imposing US law on US companies doing business in a foreign country. Its up to the US company to sort out the conflict between US law and local law, not the US government.

          • No I think its the US Govement who need to decide if they want international companies or only domestic.

            They cant force US law into all other countries around the world.

            If they want international companies, US Goverment can't make laws that forces their international companies to break other countries laws.

            • They aren't forcing US law into all other countries, they are forcing their own citizens and entities to follow domestic law.

              There is no such thing as an "international company", there are only companies that conduct business internationally - and yes, the US government can force US companies to break foreign laws, its up to the company to reconcile that conflict with their business.

              I don't see this issue coming up when we are talking about US or EU companies being prosecuted for bribery in foreign nations,

              • I don't see this issue coming up when we are talking about US or EU companies being prosecuted for bribery in foreign nations, even when it wouldn't be considered bribery in those foreign nations.

                That's not a reasonable comparison. The right comparison would be if those companies were prosecuted for bribery in foreign nations, where such foreign nations required bribery by law (which, by definition they don't, because then it wouldn't be bribery).

                Plus, we can't divorce the actual subject matter from the issue. The US is demanding the ability to violate the privacy rights of foreign citizens (as the EU sees it), and the EU says it's against the law to aid and abet that. Yes, it's up to the multina

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      US laws do not exist outside US territory.

      • by LQ ( 188043 )

        US laws do not exist outside US territory.

        But US companies work outside US territory and the government wants their data. Look at the Microsoft case where an NY judge demands their data from servers in Ireland.

        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

          Exactly. And this is why the EU would like to forbid storing EU citizens' data on storage owned by US companies.

          I wonder how US companies are going to store personal details of non-US employees. Will Microsoft be forbidden from using their own servers for HR and payrolling?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Cough, Germany, UK, etc. etc. Cough cough.

    This is just more "Anti American Company" bullshit that parts of the EU pull every once in a while because they're mad all the big internet companies are in the US and stuff and not in the EU. Oh sure, the proposed purpose SOUNDS noble. Except plenty of countries in the EU already do the same thing they're protesting so loudly about. So really it has nothing to do with privacy, and everything to do with throwing a hissy fit that they don't have their own Apple or Fa

    • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

      At least the EU gives lip service to protecting its citizens private information. Here in the good old USA the government makes no secret that it wants to become increasingly more both invasive and pervasive.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      It's kinda like nuclear weapons; the US has them themselves, but they will go to war against any country that they imagine might also want to have them.
      In this case countries would like to spy themselves, but they don't want to be spied upon by others.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    From the reuter article:

    "If the United States doesn't change its laws in order to guarantee a minimum of data protection to European citizens, U.S. companies will have to process their data in the EU,"

    Spot on.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The government of the United States of America has lost all credibility.
    What once represented freedom for many now stands for oppression.
    Why does the state need to spy on its own citizens?
    Answer - to identify and stamp out dissent in order to preserve the status quo.

    Time to go back to sleep sheeple..... Nothing to see here.

  • now since this move may hurt tech gaints' (from US) business, this will teach them a lesson on user privacy
  • Ironically, Snowden's own revelations indicated that the data would be more secure in the US than in Europe, since we collect foreign data with wild abandon, and still apply some limits to domestic surveillance.
    • Whether it would be "safer" is a matter of opinion, but the point is the EU wants to do their own spying on their citizens, rather than let the US do it. Like for example when Snowden revealed that the US has been spying on the German Chancellor. That's a big no-no.

      • Like for example when Snowden revealed that the US has been spying on the German Chancellor. That's a big no-no.

        Why should that be a "no-no"? Spying on foreign leaders is one of the primary jobs of spy agencies. The US has no reason to trust Merkel. Oh, Merkel probably won't attack the US militarily, but the German government has engaged in anything from weapons exports and toleration of right wing extremism to secret illegal international agreements.

        • by dave420 ( 699308 )
          Because it's a violation of trust between supposed allies. If you can't understand why that's not a cool thing, you're already lost.
          • Because it's a violation of trust between supposed allies.

            An "alliance" just means that two nations pursue some common goal; it doesn't imply trust, friendship, or good will. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are also "allies" of the US; that doesn't mean that we trust them.

            Germany has been a military ally since WWII, but it was full of Nazis and communists after WWII, which is why the US maintained an extensive spy program in Germany and throughout the German government. That was with the knowledge and support of the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    dammit. About half of our customers have a few employees in Europe. We mainly support US companies, but most of them have remote employees outside of the country. This might kill us. Thanks Obama.

    • As long as the collection of data has a legitimate purpose and is limited to what is strictly necessary for fulfilling said purpose, and the safeguards are properly (and demonstrably) applied, there shouldn't be a problem.
  • by Maritz ( 1829006 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @04:14AM (#50595143)
    The US isn't a safe place to store anyone's personal data. Never has been. The subtext/attitude has always been 'anything you give us is ours to do with as we please'. The irony here sadly is that "EU" includes the UK (for the time being at least) and here the GHCQ do whatever they like. There is no meaningful oversight nor will there ever be.
    • As if any intelligence agency would not do the same. Where do people live, in fantasy wonderland?
    • The US isn't a safe place to store anyone's personal data. Never has been.

      For foreigners? No, of course not. US spy agencies have always had a right to look into the data of foreigners. That's the same for all spy agencies anywhere.

      The difference is that Americans used to be legally protected against that kind of spying by their own government, and the scandal in the US is that those laws were violated. Europeans have never been legally protected in the same way from their own governments at all.

      The irony h

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @10:52AM (#50596949)

    Your data is probably safer in the US than it is in the EU. European countries have spies too, you know...
    At least, US citizens seem to make a big deal out of it and they are allowed to speak it out. In the EU, we don't need a Snowden to know that the government spies on us, yet, few people seem to care, of their control of the press is much more effective than in the US.

  • The U.S. government are nothing more than mega-corporate bitches. They should be shunned and marginalized

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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