• 12-MAR-2014

  • SOURCE: S&D Group at European Parliament

NSA: "The EU Must Put Data Transfer Agreements with the US on Hold" say Euro MPs

The European Parliament today adopted a final report following a six-month inquiry led by S&D MEP Claude Moraes on Edward Snowden's revelations of mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the intelligence agencies of certain EU countries.

The report on the NSA spying scandal condemns the mass surveillance programmes used by the US and EU member states, and it urges the EU to suspend and reform some existing transatlantic agreements with Washington. These include a bank data transfer deal (known as the TFTP or Swift agreement) and the 'Safe Harbour' agreement on data privacy which allows US companies to transfer EU citizens' data to the US securely.

Moreover, it calls on the European Commission to exclude data protection from free trade talks and to conclude negotiations with the US to introduce judicial redress for EU citizens facing privacy violations.Claude Moraes MEP, S&D spokesperson on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, who led the European Parliament's inquiry and authored the report on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens, said: "The Edward Snowden allegations came at a critical time when the EU had already decided to completely overhaul its own outdated data protection, internet and privacy laws. It sparked an intense period of activity which has resulted in a set of rules to give EU citizens back control of their personal data including the 'right to erasure', allowing people to have their details removed on request.

"The inquiry into the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens has been the most comprehensive inquiry to date with testimony from all key actors including from the source of all these revelations, Edward Snowden.

"A host of detailed recommendations form a digital bill of rights, including increased international protections for journalists and whistleblowers, proposals to strengthen cloud computing in the EU (but not to fence us off), and proposals on IT security and encryption standards. It is clear that there are both civil liberties implications and global business trust issues arising from the revelations, resulting in a strong need to monitor standards long after the revelations may have faded from memory."

S&D MEP and vice-president Sylvie Guillaume said:

"Today I am very proud of our Parliament – we, as representatives of the EU citizens, were the only institution in Europe that tackled this issue. We conducted the inquiry despite very limited means, while the Council remained shamefully silent.

"This resolution shows citizens that we will stand up for their rights, for democracy and for the rule of law, and we deeply regret that the conservatives in the Parliament did not share this view and tried to obscure the true picture of this scandal throughout the process."

Available content includes an edited package.