EC continues its froth(ing at the mouth) over the NSA
I never cease to be amazed by our politicians – they seem to be incapable of taking a stand and holding a line.
The European Commission is, we are told, furious at the surveillance programs of the National Security Agency. (They are also slightly miffed at those of GCHQ, which is just as bad, if not worse, than the NSA. But GCHQ is British, and Britain is a member of the EU, and the EU cannot, by law, interfere with the security matters of its own members. So that one’s a tad tricky; best keep a low profile.)
But back to the fury at the NSA. In a pit of fique, the EC has declared that if the US doesn’t do what it wants, it might reconsider the safe harbor agreement that allows US companies to export personal European data even though the US is not considered safe to secure it. It won’t, of course. Can you imagine the uproar if Europeans could suddenly not have their hourly fix of Facebook or Twitter or Google mail?
And apart from that, what the EU wants is not for the NSA to stop spying on Europeans, but for Europeans to be able to sue the NSA in the US if it oversteps the mark. Well, good luck with that. A US judge saying that NSA spying on foreigners (perfectly legal, in fact required by law in America) is not legal if that foreigner is European but OK if he is not European? Or perhaps US judges will have to become proficient in European law and adjudicate on EU law for EU citizens living in the EU but spied on from the US? This one will run and run until it is kicked into the long grass and quietly forgotten.
Meanwhile, the EC is keeping quiet over its genuine weapons. Will it stop negotiations on the new ACTA, called the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, not to be confused with – wait, to be totally confused with – the Trans-Pacific Partnership)? Will it hell. A threat like that might actually have an effect.
And what about the Swift agreement – the one that ships European financial data to the US for onforwarding to the NSA? Not a dicky-bird there either.
So, frankly, all this huff and puff from the EC over the NSA spying is pure froth designed to appease the voting public – after all, we’ve got elections coming up in just a few months.
That’s not to say there aren’t some good guys in Europe. An emailed statement from MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht comments, “It is, however, seriously regrettable that the Commission has completely ignored the demand of the European Parliament to suspend the EU-US agreement on the transfer of SWIFT bank transaction data and, instead, delivered a glowing endorsement of the agreement. Revelations that US authorities by-passed the provisions of the agreement, including using cyber-attacks to access SWIFT data, undermine the entire essence of the agreement and cannot be simply left unanswered. This slight by the Commission in ignoring Parliament’s demand must make MEPs more wary in the future about waiving through far-reaching international agreements.”
Sadly, the Albrechts in Europe are massively outweighed by the Camerons in Europe.