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US Twitter Spying May Have Broken EU Privacy Law 342

Posted by samzenpus
from the playing-nice-with-others dept.
Stoobalou writes "A group of European MPs will today push EU bosses to say if the US government breached European privacy laws by snooping on Twitter users with links to whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) will today pose an oral question to the European Commission, seeking clarification from the US on a subpoena demanding the micro-blogging site hand over users' account details."
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US Twitter Spying May Have Broken EU Privacy Law

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  • Where? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by icebike (68054) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:38AM (#34858192)

    Where is Twitter based?
    Where is the EU?

    Just Askin.....

  • Spying??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by InsaneGeek (175763) <slashdot@insaneg ... m minus language> on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:00AM (#34858308) Homepage

    Maybe my dictionary is out of date, but I never have thought that a court ordered subpoena is a "spying" activity. If they broke in to twitter and trolled through data that would be spying.

    Looking at the website it's coming from... maybe I understand now why they think a subpoena is "spying". They say the Bradley Manning is currently being tortured by US jailers, and insinuate the subpoena is a front to cover the trail of supposedly confirmed NSA wiretaps 2x blocks from Twitter HQ. Sure sounds like level headed, unbiased facts abound there.

    http://www.thinq.co.uk/2011/1/8/us-wants-read-wikileakers-twitter-accounts/ [thinq.co.uk]

  • Re:Privacy? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RocketRabbit (830691) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:04AM (#34858326)

    It's also about expectations of privacy. Clearly Europeans are under the impression that their privacy laws are in operation when they are using web sites owned by USA based companies, and just as clearly the US Federal government does not think that European privacy laws apply when those people are accessing services offered from the USA.

    If this story isn't about tweets, then what, pray tell is it about? It's about twitter, the Federal Government, and privacy.

  • Re:Where? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by molnarcs (675885) <molnarcsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:22AM (#34858398) Homepage Journal

    Well, I don't want to leave the impression I support the subpoena. I don't, and I believe it is correct for Twitter to fight it.

    But be that as it may, if Twitter is a US company, based in the US, it is subject to US law. The EU can butt out.

    If the US objected because of French subpoena served against a French company, operating in France, can you imagine the uproar?

    Twitter is not operating in the US only, and it is reasonable to expect a foreign company that operates in your country to follow your country's laws. For example, let's say there's a US company that provides dancing underage boys as sex slaves for wealthy customers. Now that might be legal in the US, but I'm not sure they could operate in any country they choose to where slavery is illegal... just saying...

  • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @03:35AM (#34858914) Homepage Journal

    Considering that a typical US carrier can perhaps operate a month, max two until he needs new steel ropes to "catch" landing planes, and that the US lack the ability to produce such a simple thing themselves ...

    Considering that the typical US air strike force needs AWACS support to operate somewhere on the planet and 75% of all AWACS systems are operated by europeans ....

    Considering that the US have no decent fighter aircrafts (in comparison to modern russian and european air planes) ... considering that the US tanks are just a joke in relation to a Leopard or a modern russian tank ... considering that most "hardware" of the US is only expensive and overengineered electronic wise but otherwise not very impressive ...

    I simply fail to understand why the rest of the world united should not be able to fight a war against USA.

    One very very simple thing you seem not to know at all: all countries of the world have 90% of the armed forces at home and only a VERY VERY small force for political reasons outside of the country, like in Afghanistan. The USA have 90% of theri forces spread all over the world ... and NOTHING at home to defend themselves (9/11 e.g. shows that .... how many air wings where ready to intercept the planes? 3? And 2 training wings?)

    Sure ... if we talk about nukes, you have plenty ... we have none.

    angel'o'sphere

  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @03:50AM (#34858966)

    Then Twitter can be fined, and if it doesn't pay up, banned from doing business in the EU, and any European assets seized.

    Not doing business in the EU would mean no advertising revenue from the EU, which, as an economy bigger than China and the US would massively devalue Twitter. Whilst none of this would stop European users using Twitter, it'd become near impossible to monetize those users.

    The US government may find itself no longer privileged enough in European eyes to enjoy access to banking data and so forth for "counter terrorism" purposes and other such privileged data access it enjoys too.

    It probably wouldn't ever reach this stage, but it's naive to think that simply because they're a US company, they have no interests in Europe that can't be squeezed if they breach European law. It's also likely if the EU did levy a fine, that Twitter would just pay it anyway, simply because the fine is still going to be less than the long term profits to be obtained from a continued European prescence.

    Besides, it's possible that the MEPs in question have no intention of seeing Twitter penalised anyway, more likely they're simply doing this to add pressure to the US government to drop it's request because like many people across the globe, including some in America, they simply believe that subpoena for communication records of a foreign MP just because that MP used an American firm is a step too far. I believe they're probably just sending a message that it's not acceptable, that's all- the US government undoubtedly knows how far the EU could take this if they so decided to.

  • by McTickles (1812316) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @05:27AM (#34859384)

    It actually applies to foreign companies for the storage of data pertaining to EU users.

    I actually worked on something relating a month ago and the rules are there and the law exists for any service based in any country to take extra care when storing EU citizen data.

    The result of this relating to the subpoena? The US simply cannot subpoena data relating to EU residents, only to US residents.

    And that is it gentlemen; of course if the US wants to further degrade their reputation with Europe they can always walk all over European regulations they agreed to respect when handling EU data.

    That won't be the first time the US just does what it wants and shits on everyone else, but it may be the last... Patience towards the US tantrums is running out in the EU...

    --
    www.twilightcampaign.net

  • by Frangible (881728) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @07:19AM (#34859950)
    Just because we contract some of our military stuff out to NATO partner countries doesn't mean we lack the capability of domestic production. Yeah, military hardware costs more than commercial off-the-shelf stuff, but it's also hardened and more reliable. Do you really want ICBMs with Chinese electrolytic caps? Yikes.

    And the F-22 and F-35 are quite excellent aircraft. I don't believe the modern Russian aircraft suck or anything (the Su-35 etc) but the F-22 and F-35 likely do have air superiority in the studies I've seen. This is a silly point anyway, as Britain helped us develop the F-35.

    I also am not sure why you think the Abrams is a "joke" compared to the panther. The firepower and electronics of the tanks are quite comparable, as is their speed/weight, but the Abrams has an edge in armor due to the use of depleted uranium, a capability which German manufacturing lacks due to political reasons. Compare the RHA equivalents for both tanks if you don't believe me.

    Yes, you're quite correct in asserting most of our military is deployed overseas. Further, recent military cuts have reduced our capability of fighting multiple wars simultaneously. The US however still maintains the deterrence of a large nuclear arsenal, and if attacked and pressed by hostile nation states, I have little doubt we'd use them if we were pushed far enough and it was a matter of survival. Nuclear weapons as an ultimate deterrence make conventional forces seem weak, though it's hard to perform police actions or fight proxy wars with nukes. No, Germany does not have nuclear weapons, but it is not from a lack of trying.

    I have great respect for Germany's armed forces throughout history, and Germany's industrial and technological superiority to the US for most of our existence. Today's battlefields and tactics are still defined by German technology.

    At the battle of Kasserine Pass where Erwin Rommel defeated a much larger US force, do you think he would've won by being contemptuous and undervaluing the US forces?

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @08:38AM (#34860542)

    Considering that a typical US carrier can perhaps operate a month, max two until he needs new steel ropes to "catch" landing planes, and that the US lack the ability to produce such a simple thing themselves ...

    Considering that the US Navy keeps three years worth of all essential consumables on hand "just in case", not much problem.

    Considering that the typical US air strike force needs AWACS support to operate somewhere on the planet and 75% of all AWACS systems are operated by europeans ....

    Considering that every carrier carries a couple of its own airborne control aircraft (basically, a mini-awacs), not so much of a problem as you might think.

    Considering that the US have no decent fighter aircrafts (in comparison to modern russian and european air planes) ...

    You've got something better than F-22 over there? I'm impressed.

    considering that the US tanks are just a joke in relation to a Leopard or a modern russian tank ...

    Oddly enough, the US tanks use the same gun as the Leopard, and have better armour. And better engines. Not sure what the Leopard has to make it better. Much less Russian tanks, which M1's have been shooting up in overwhelming ratios since the first Gulf War.

    I simply fail to understand why the rest of the world united should not be able to fight a war against USA.

    You really want to know? Okay, it reduces to this - no other country in the world (even counting the EU as a country) has any real ability to move troops thousands of miles to attack a hostile shore. So when the vast fleet of transports required to move the EU (or other) army puts to sea, they'll have several weeks of sailing during which submarines will be sinking them, airstrikes will be sinking them (yah, the EU fighters don't have the range to cross the Atlantic to provide a CAP), and then when they get here, they'll have to figure out this whole "land on a hostile shore" experience. While being shot at by pretty much everyone and everything.

    Note, for the record, that the last major amphibious attack took place in WW2. The last one big enough to even have a hope of taking on a serious power on its homeland took three years to prepare for (and was that quick because there was a base less than 100 miles from the hostile shore), even with absolute control of the sea and air around the battlefield.

    Good luck with achieving such on our Atlantic seaboard with what the EU can bring to bear.

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