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EU High Court To Review US-EU Data Safe Harbor Agreement 60

jfruh (300774) writes with news that a complaint in Irish Court against Facebook for possibly sharing personal data of EU citizens with the NSA has escalated to the European Court of Justice which will review the continuance of the U.S./EU Safe Harbor Framework in light of PRISM. Under European laws, personal data of EU citizens can't be transferred to countries that don't meet EU standards for data protection. The U.S. doesn't meet those standards, but American companies have worked around this by using EU standards for the data of European citizens, even that data stored on servers outside of Europe. Now the EU's highest court will decide if this workaround is good enough — especially in light of revelations of the NSA's Prism data-mining program.
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EU High Court To Review US-EU Data Safe Harbor Agreement

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  • Re:At what point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @09:58AM (#47262245) Homepage
    To what end? That means that they can't use the irish tax havens anymore. That means that they have no footing if they want to sue. That means that even mediocre european companies will eat their marketshare because they are present in the E.U.. And if the sales company in the E.U. sues them for falsely representing the actual handling of the data, they aren't off the hook either.

    Yes, an U.S. based company could avoid the fallout. But is it worth it?

  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @10:02AM (#47262279) Homepage Journal

    You can punish the hell out of a perpetrator of the crime(assuming they have presence in the EU). That's what's being considered. Giving companies that have business in the EU pause about mindlessly toadying to US government organizations.

  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @10:03AM (#47262287) Homepage
    It could give all the european intelligence agencies cold feet for cooperating with the NSA. It could give all the citizens angry about the constant surveillance and the nonchalance of their politicians about it a boost. It makes everyone liable who gives material support to the NSA from within the E.U., which in turn makes the life miserable for David Cameron and the GCHQ.
  • by L-One-L-One ( 173461 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @10:06AM (#47262325)

    With the safe harbour agreement american companies basically "promise" to follow some rules related to privacy, which are compatible with European values. But to make such an approach effective, someone has to verify that the "promises" are real and eventually impose sanctions if they are not. That someone is -- in theory -- the FTC.

    The problem with safe harbor is that it is been very weakly enforced. In the first decade since it was created, there has been no real enforcement action that I've heard of. This gives the impression that Safe Harbor is pretty toothless. FTC has only recently (2014) began to enforce this framework, because Europeans threatened to abandon it.

  • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @10:54AM (#47262775)

    It means you only need to build that fourth wall, instead of third and fourth.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard