Europe takes tough stance on transatlantic data

The European Commission has laid out plans for a personal data protection agreement with the US that politicians claim will enhance Europeans’ rights.

Europe takes tough stance on transatlantic data

According to the EC, the proposed agreement is essential to ensure that Europeans’ personal data is “respected and protected” when it is passed to authorities in the US.

“The sharing of data is essential, for countering crime like terrorism and child pornography,” said Viviane Reding, the EU’s commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship. “But we have to be clear – there must be no sharing without full data protection.”

The European Council must approve this negotiating framework ahead of potentially frosty talks to thrash out a deal with US negotiators.

The European Parliament caused a stir in February when it vetoed a deal on providing access to terror funding details because of data protection concerns. Blocking the interim Terrorism Finance Tracking Programme prevented US investigators accessing European bank transfer information.

The EU is continuing its bullish stance, demanding that Europeans have better access to their data and a right to compensation should the US breach the agreement or leak data.

In an unusually spikey statement, Reding suggested that US treatment of EU citizens’ data was inadequate. “We need to have the right to access our data if it is collected, the right to have it corrected and erased and the right to compensation for damages following a breach of our rights,” she said. “Europeans should enjoy the same rights in the US as Americans do in Europe.”

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