TTIP: Protect our privacy in EU-US trade deal or ELSE, snarl MEPs

Lawmakers rattle sabres, Commish doesn't blink, for now


MEPs have called on American and European negotiators to guarantee citizens’ right to privacy in an international trade deal.

Members of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee said last week that an “unambiguous, horizontal, self-standing provision” in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) must be created to safeguard Europe’s data protection laws.

Although the ongoing negotiations on TTIP do not specifically deal with data protection, MEPs say that they “touch upon international data flows, while excluding privacy and data protection entirely.”

Ignoring data privacy has raised the ire of many in the civil liberties committee and they warned EU Commission negotiators to “keep in mind that Parliament's consent to the final TTIP agreement could be endangered as long as the blanket mass surveillance activities are not completely abandoned and an adequate solution is found for the data privacy rights of EU citizens.”

In other words, the EU Parliament could hold the Commission to ransom.

The Commission is currently discussing a so-called data protection “umbrella agreement” with the US as well as mulling a new data retention law. If the Commish wants MEPs to approve its TTIP position it will likely have to give ground in these areas.

Under EU law, personal data can only be transferred outside the EU if the receiving nation offers protections equal to EU data protection laws. As this is currently not the case with the United States, agreements such as Safe Harbor and TTIP take on greater significance.

“The most important decision of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee on TTIP is that the agreement needs to foresee a horizontal exception for EU data protection law,” said Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Tim Hortons collected location data constantly, without consent, report finds
    Hortons hears a sue

    From May 2019 through August 2020, the mobile app published by multinational restaurant chain Tim Hortons surveilled customers constantly by gathering their location data without valid consent, according to a Canadian government investigation.

    In a report published Wednesday, Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) of Canada and the privacy commissioners from three provinces – Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec – presented the results of an inquiry that began shortly after the publication of a June 2020 National Post article.

    That article revealed the Tim Hortons app tracked location data every few minutes even when relegated to the background, and the report compiled by Canadian privacy officials confirmed as much.

    Continue reading
  • Behind Big Tech's big privacy heist: Deliberate obfuscation
    You opted out, but you didn't uncheck the box on page 24, so your data's ours...

    Opinion "We value your privacy," say the pop-ups. Better believe it. That privacy, or rather taking it away, is worth half a trillion dollars a year to big tech and the rest of the digital advertising industry. That's around a third of a percent of global GDP, give or take wars and plagues. 

    You might expect such riches to be jealously guarded. Look at what those who "value your privacy" are doing to stop laws protecting it, what happens when a good law  gets through, and what they try to do to close it down afterwards. 

    The best result for big tech is if laws are absent or useless. The latest survey of big tech lobbying in the US reveals a flotilla of nearly 500 salespeople/lawyers touring the US state legislatures, trying to either draw up tech friendly legislation to insert into privacy bills, water then down through persuasion, or just keep them off the books.

    Continue reading
  • Google has more reasons why it doesn't like antitrust law that affects Google
    It'll ruin Gmail, claims web ads giant

    Google has a fresh list of reasons why it opposes tech antitrust legislation making its way through Congress but, like others who've expressed discontent, the ad giant's complaints leave out mention of portions of the proposed law that address said gripes.

    The law bill in question is S.2992, the Senate version of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA), which is closer than ever to getting votes in the House and Senate, which could see it advanced to President Biden's desk.

    AICOA prohibits tech companies above a certain size from favoring their own products and services over their competitors. It applies to businesses considered "critical trading partners," meaning the company controls access to a platform through which business users reach their customers. Google, Apple, Amazon, and Meta in one way or another seemingly fall under the scope of this US legislation. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022