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Patriot Act vs. the EU's Data Protection Directive 239

Posted by Soulskill
from the otherwise-the-terrists-win dept.
itwbennett writes "Last week, Microsoft warned that under the Patriot Act the company may be compelled to hand over European customers' data on its new cloud service to U.S. authorities — and also to keep the data transfer secret. This, of course, runs counter to the European Data Protection Directive, which states that organizations must inform users when they disclose personal information. 'Microsoft can already transfer E.U. data to the U.S. under the Safe Harbor agreement. But legal experts have warned that this agreement is hardly worth the paper it's written on,' writes IDG News Service's Jennifer Baker. 'There are seven principles of Safe Harbor, including reasonable data security, and clearly defined and effective enforcement. However all this is nullified if the Patriot Act is invoked.'"
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Patriot Act vs. the EU's Data Protection Directive

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  • by asylumx (881307) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @02:56PM (#36664228)
    Seriously, why can't we get rid of it?
    • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:10PM (#36664398)
      It's the Patriot Act which "isn't worth the paper it's written on" - or is it The Constitution that isn't worth the parchment it's written on - since the Patriot Act?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Constitution has undergone gleischaltung. It was necessary to protect the United States from its enemies.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:17PM (#36664468)
      Simply put, law enforcement agencies wanted many of the provisions in the PATRIOT act years before it was passed, but nobody was willing to go that far. Then we were attacked by terrorists, and suddenly the political climate changed and the concerns about undermining our constitutional rights magically disappeared. Now that law enforcement has the power they wanted, they are not going to give it up without a fight.
      • by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @10:01PM (#36668028)

        That is by far not the most concerning part about the Patriot Act at all. Law enforcement was always seeking ways to obtain data. In every country. Nothing new. For most of them, they are a bit zealous but probably want to protect you. Meaning, the small guys. They are not the brightest bunch and have a hard time seeing the big picture but they are risking their lives daily to protect yours.

        The REAL CONCERNING part about the Patriot Act is the SILENCE BY FORCE.

        When you can't speak about what they are doing out of fear of being incarcerated, we no longer live in the United States of America.

        So what really happened nearly 10 years ago was the United States Of America died. Its soul was stripped, its people were robbed, and we are still reeling in a deluded and dazed confusion arguing about meaningless shit (immigration, gay people wanting rights, and Obama's fucking birth certificate) without confronting the truth that a law exists that makes it illegal for you to talk about actions that need to be talked about.

        When you are a business owner that is being raided by the government for all of your customers information indiscriminately without warrants or just cause and you cannot even warn your customers that their rights are being violated and should be offered the chance to face and defend themselves against their accusers and those that abridged their rights, we all need to seriously consider just what country we live in, is it really free, and have thrown the baby with the bath water out when it comes to protecting Freedom?

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        It is better for a hundred guilty people go free than a single innocent person be wrongly convicted.

        Too few people believe in this principle for there to yet be an effective resistance against the PATRIOT act.

    • Because it's the Patriot Act. Clearly only a terrorist would want to get rid of something called the Patriot Act.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Down with retaining customer data instead!

      What doesn't exist cannot be stolen. :)

      Good luck getting anything useful from my distro downloads.

  • The internet short circuited two jurisdictions causing paradoxical rift in cyberlegalspace.
  • It will end in tears.

    • the problem is in the rain.

      I have a feeling that things will be very interesting for the Next generation

  • "The Terrorists" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:03PM (#36664318)
    ...win again.
    • by EdIII (1114411)

      Define "Terrorists" please.

      I know of a group of people that took down a building and killed a few thousand people and bombed a bunch of embassies.

      I also know of a group of people responsible for death of millions, the waste of trillions, and wiped their asses with the US Constitution.

      Please define who a terrorist is again please?

  • by Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:04PM (#36664326) Homepage Journal

    I'm someone interested in releasing my software.

    I've worked on this software for about 1 year my time, and done things I think are "research" in their newness.

    Releasing any software in the U.S. is basically opening me up to a multitude of unfounded lawsuits and I become a target for corporate espionage - why do I bother.

    As a euro developer - I must confess that the U.S. is looking less and less interesting as a revenue source.

    All the "steal people's data" and the "we control domains" - why on earth would I think about building a business in this piranha pool?

    • It's by far the largest software market in the world and extremely influential, if you don't have a solid foothold in the US you are likely to get screwed down the line by a competitor that does. This is not likely to change anytime soon.
      • Problem is, I see it changing. As taxes go up and our freedoms go down, companies are going to be moving out. The only thing keeping us in the lead is the fact that other countries are also getting worse.
        • What evidence do you have that taxes are going up in the USA ? I found this [taxpolicycenter.org] pretty quickly and it shows the opposite.
          • by KDR_11k (778916)

            Maybe it's conservative propaganda to make people demand the tax breaks that are the only constant in conservative policies around the globe (even GREEK conservatives demand tax cuts!).

            • by Stevecrox (962208)
              No-one in the Greek government is demanding tax cuts, they are looking at decreasing spending [bbc.co.uk], Greece's problem has come from widespread tax avoidance [bbc.co.uk] by the general population mixed with massive overspending by the government. The problem got as bad as it did because the Greek governments have successively lied about their budgets. The Greek protests are about the massive cuts mixed with a large scale sell off of nationally owned assets. [bbc.co.uk]

              As for constant the Conservatives are heading a coalition gover
              • More specifically Greece's problems have come about because their citizens behave like spoiled, entitled, children:

                1. Average salary on the Greek railways *including cleaners* is $90,0000 a year.

                2. 600 'professions' can retire at 50 with a pension -paid for by the state- of 95% of their final salary. Why? Because these professions are stressful and dangerous. What's an example of one of these 600 professions? Masseuse.

                3. And now the Greeks have to pay for their profligacy they're on the streets attacking th

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          As taxes go up?
          Our taxes are very low, much lower than when the US was the undisputed leader of the software world. Compared to the EU our taxes are still very low. High taxes in the USA is a red herring, businesses move out to exploit slave-wage labor.

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        I would have thought that the EU market is slightly larger than the US. Of course the US has the advantage that you can ship to the entire market in their variant of English, with maybe Spanish thrown in if you are feeling generous, or you are shipping to Spanish speaking countries anyway. Also, India and China are catching up, and are the main growth markets, so if you want to be big in the future, that is where you should be now.

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Because the US offers better protection for when Microsoft CopyOfYourSoftware(tm) is released.
    • or... Why do business in the EU. No-one forced Microsoft to provide a cloud service in the EU, perhaps a local competitor will emerge that in not patriot-act encumbered.
    • Good points and it makes me ask: Where in the world should I have my websites & domains hosted? I've got a few websites and I'd love to have them hosted in a country where I can have some expectation of not falling prey to the U.S. gubmint. (Note: Not a rhetorical question - I really want to know.) Thanks.

      • by t2t10 (1909766)

        Host them in Europe with European companies.

        While EU data protection is actually worse than US data protection, you're probably still somewhat better off because suing a European company is probably easier for you than suing a US company.

        In different words, it's not the "US gubmint" you should be worried about, it's the French, German, British, Italian, and other European governments, who have really bad records historically.

        • Wrong.

          In the US if a corporation has your data it's now their data and they can do whatever the hell they like with it.

          In Europe they have to have permission (possibly implied but explicit if it's 'sensitive' like medical records) to hold and process your data.

          They have to register what they plan on doing with the data and tell you when you agree- so they can't suddenly decide they're going to use the information you provided to make a travel booking to start marketing cars. Nor can they suddenly decide the

      • by EdIII (1114411)

        You don't. Such a place does not exist. Host your stuff in the EU in a country that will actually resist and fight the US from coming in and taking the data.

        The US can still seize your domain and put up that nice intimidating seal that informs all of your users that the US is busy going elbow deep on your ass. All domains fall under the influence of a company that is entirely under the influence of the US government.

        The Internet, domains being the foundation, is entirely the property of the US government a

      • by vegiVamp (518171)

        Sealand. Not sure if they've fully recovered from the fire, though.

  • by pythonboy (1627121) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:04PM (#36664330)
    Ok lets ask an easier question.... ... Who doesn't have access to my personal data ?
    • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:10PM (#36664392)

      Ok lets ask an easier question.... ... Who doesn't have access to my personal data ?

      You

      • by EdIII (1114411)

        Oh yes. That reminds of a wonderful night in Las Vegas.

        Got so hammered that when I had to pee, and I had to pee bad... I could not gain access to myself. The belt was just too difficult in my current state and the zipper actually broke off in my hand.

        I eventually just said fuck it and yanked everything down like a 3 year old (or Butters from South Park) and started pissing away. I saw the other guys looking at me and I calmly and drunkly informed them I was having a "wardrobe malfunction" and to mind you

  • by CountBrass (590228) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:08PM (#36664360)

    There are specific exceptions for 'National Security' in both the European directive and each country's implementation (eg the Data Protection Act in the UK).

    So all the US needs to do is find a shill (the UK government would be my guess at their first choice) who will declare that they need to export 'this' data as a matter of 'National Security' (honest!) and Microsoft and in the clear and the US get what they want.

    • This is not an issue of the US government wanting information and needing a shill to send it to them. It is simply a matter of Microsoft, as a U.S.-based corporation having to turn over information on all its dealings with extra-nationals at the U.S. government's request. Euro privacy law would prohibit some of that and since Microsoft makes use of European systems, this falls under Euro privacy law. It is a horrible mess but the U.S. law will trump the EU law because...

      Microsoft is a U.S. company. Would
      • by jopsen (885607)

        This is not an issue of the US government wanting information and needing a shill to send it to them. It is simply a matter of Microsoft, as a U.S.-based corporation having to turn over information on all its dealings with extra-nationals at the U.S. government's request. Euro privacy law would prohibit some of that and since Microsoft makes use of European systems, this falls under Euro privacy law. It is a horrible mess but the U.S. law will trump the EU law because...

        So at the end of the day, if the US decides to use it's power over MS to get information from servers located in Europe, the EU will sue the hell out of MS for knowingly violating privacy laws... Sounds like a loose/loose situation for MS :)

        • by eleuthero (812560)
          Except that at the end of the day, MS will take its $219 Billion market cap and its rather large political influence in the US and hide behind the US State Dep't. (which, despite the antagonism from the anti-MS, pro-EU guy above, is precisely what any company should do when it is confronted by a situation putting the laws which govern it in conflict with the laws of another entity in which it desires to do business, whether that is a US-based company or one based in Europe or Fiji or wherever).
        • So at the end of the day, if the US decides to use it's power over MS to get information from servers located in Europe, the EU will sue the hell out of MS for knowingly violating privacy laws... Sounds like a loose/loose situation for MS :)

          More like a tight/tight situation. ;)

  • Hard to imagine people still cling to the idea that we must give up our freedoms to protect us from the people who hate us for our freedoms.

    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:21PM (#36664514) Journal

      There was this brief period during the fallout from the Enlightenment when great men believed that liberty was worth the additional dangers it might add. But, in general, people are too dull and too easily frightened to understand that. They're too easily overawed, too easily swayed by emotional appeals, and lacking in sufficient ability to evaluate statements such as "We're increasing surveillance to maintain your freedoms" and realize that the two notions are diametrically opposed.

    • Most people have no concept of their freedoms, and cannot think far enough into the future to imagine how giving up their rights could possibly be a bad thing. When the FBI/NSA/DEA says, "we are only going to use this power to keep you safe from those dangerous people," most Americans accept that explanation and even go as far as to defend the agencies that are undermining their rights. There is something of an assumption that there is no way that law enforcement or espionage agencies would ever abuse the
  • News at 11 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MemoryDragon (544441) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:32PM (#36664630)

    The USA is screwing the only friends they have left over (again)...
    So whats the news again?

    • For the rest of the world it's the Transferring Restricted Access Information To Obstruct Rights act or TRAITOR act
    • by t2t10 (1909766)

      I'm sorry... who are you talking about? Europeans are supposed to be "the only friends" of the US? The always-whining always-complaining Europeans? I don't think so.

      And let's see what you are actually complaining about: the US government reserves the right to access data held by US companies in the US. Well, golly, European companies reserve the same right in Europe, but without many of the niceties and legal protections that exist in the US.

      The real difference is that few Americans actually have data o

      • by Cederic (9623)

        A British company has moral, ethical and legal obligations to protect its customers' data. Exposing that data to the US by hosting on a server in the EU would be negligent, yet is the situation that Microsoft have admitted anybody using their service could find themselves in.

        Throw in the almost certain misuse of secret corporate data for industrial espionage purposes (and don't even pretend the US Government don't play there) and there's a very compelling case to use EU only cloud providers (or host in-hous

        • by t2t10 (1909766)

          A British company has moral, ethical and legal obligations to protect its customers' data.

          So do US companies, that's not the issue. The US government can legally get at that data under some circumstances, just like the UK government can get at data at UK companies under some circumstances.

          Exposing that data to the US by hosting on a server in the EU would be negligent, yet is the situation that Microsoft have admitted anybody using their service could find themselves in.

          That's your opinion. What matters i

    • You must not know about the "special relationship" the US and UK have.

      To put it bluntly (yet in a work-safe parlance), the UK gets the shaft in the wrong'un, and we get to agree to outrageous demand to extradite british nationals on flimsy "evidence" to a country which incarceration is big business in return.
  • You know, every time I see a story about some business "gone wrong" due to involvement with China, I usually hold my tongue because what I want to say is that doing business with US based companies can be every bit as problematic as doing business with a Chinese company. And the problem doesn't start or end with the PATRIOT act. It goes on and on and on due to all sorts of problems such as software patents, the DMCA and more.

    Things that are legal in other countries are illegal here and will get you screwe

  • Can we just overthrow our fucking peeping-tom government already and put up something suitably less needy, greedy and pervy in its place? The government needs to go back to the point of being TOO FUCKING AFRAID of pissing off its populace to entertain shit like this.

    I figure a little violent revolution with a few thousand politicoes executed publicly and messily ought to give us another 1-200-ish years of peace.

    • Oh for goodness sake.

      Source for following statements [gallup.com]
      A recent gallup poll shows 54% of people who claim to be "very familiar with the patriot act" are either satisfied with it, or want it to go further. 65% of people "somewhat familiar" with it have the same opinion, and 62% of people not familiar with it have that opinion.

      In all, 62% of americans do NOT think it has gone too far.

      Regardless of whether or not you think the patriot act goes too far, calling for a revolution because you disagree with the major

    • by u38cg (607297)
      I suggest you read a history of the French Revolution before you carry on too far with that line of thinking.
    • by vegiVamp (518171)

      Sounds like a good idea on paper, but the corporations will just buy a new load of politicos. You'll get no more than a decade or two out of it.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @04:12PM (#36665124) Homepage

    I learned a bit about the Patriot Act when buying a house. Prior to the Patriot Act you had to disclose sufficient financial information to the bank for them to take the risk of the loan. You had to prove you had the down payment, provide a credit report, and appraise the house. But they didn't really care where or how you got the money. But under the Patriot Act you have to provide an audit trail for all of your assets. For example, you must show where you got your down payment from and where it was for the past 6 months, etc. In my case I sold stocks so I had to show tons of statements prove that the money really came from those stocks, not some other place.

    It was fairly creepy. I felt like I was depositing money in a bank and the government required proof that I didn't get the money by selling drugs. It really slowed things down and complicated it. I used to watch TV shows where the police had ridiculous access to people's information, but I see now how that is happening. I can imagine a time when the government can track every dollar - where it goes and where it came from.

  • EU countries also have the ability to access pretty much everything they like in the interest of national security. Some European nations even allow government access to data for police work without a court order. And they don't ask questions whether the data involved comes from Europeans or US citizens.

    So I really don't see what the fuss is about. The only reason this matters more in the EU->US direction is because there are a lot more US companies that EU citizens like to use than the other way arou

    • by metacell (523607)

      Well, it's up to the European companies to make it the American companies' problem by no longer using their products them.

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