11th April 2017

Data Privacy Shield: MEPs alarmed at undermining of privacy safeguards in the US

New rules allowing the US National Security Agency (NSA) to share private data with other US agencies without court oversight, recent revelations about surveillance activities by a US electronic communications service provider and vacancies on US oversight bodies are among the concerns raised by MEPs in a resolution passed on April 6.

MEPs are particularly worried about:

  • recent revelations about surveillance activities conducted by a US electronic communications service provider at the request of the NSA and FBI in 2015, one year after Presidential Policy Directive 28 limited the amount of data intelligence that can be collected and processed,
  • new rules that from January 2017 allow the NSA to share vast amounts of private data, gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorisation, with 16 other agencies, including the FBI,
  • the rejection of rules to protect the privacy of broadband customers by the Senate and the House of Representatives in March, which “ eliminates (…) rules that would have required internet service providers to get consumers’ explicit consent before selling or sharing web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other private companies”,
  • vacancies on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which means that it lost its quorum on 7 January, making it more limited in its authority, while at the same time the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the Privacy Shield, has three of its five seats vacant,
  • insufficient independence of the Ombudsperson mechanism set up by the US Department of State plus the fact that the incoming US administration has not appointed a new Ombudsperson , and
  • the fact that neither the Privacy Shield Principles nor letters from the US administration demonstrate the existence of effective judicial redress rights for EU individuals whose data are transferred to the US

Read full statement.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic