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Privacy Ombudsman Could Handle EU Complaints About US Surveillance ( 44

Mark Wilson writes with this story from Beta News: One of the greatest problems facing anyone trying to tackle the problem of privacy on the web is dealing with the ideologies of different countries, and how this affects data sharing. A level of surveillance that is deemed acceptable in the US, for instance, may be considered completely objectionable in another. The latest suggestion to help overcome this seemingly insurmountable problem is to set up a privacy ombudsman that would be able to handle European complaints and queries about US surveillance.
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Privacy Ombudsman Could Handle EU Complaints About US Surveillance

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That would be zero without a warrant issued by a public judicial system with oversight and accountability.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      A level of surveillance that is deemed acceptable in the US, for instance, may be considered completely objectionable in another.

      I think what they mean to say is that in some European countries and the EU itself, people still have rights guaranteed by a constitution and and the countries are not ruled by a bunch of thugs who consider it a minor inconvenience that can and should be ignored. The text should have read " .... deem acceptable by the thugs who rule us .... ".

      • I am totally sure that the NSA will take whatever this privacy ombudsman says to heart, and make real changes to what they do. Facebook is sure to do this as well. As well as the zillion ad companies.

        • This should appear as writing on the wall to the elite that NWO/One world gov't just ain't going to work out but they sure as hell are going to screw a lot of things up trying aren't they? To the masses this appears as inbreeding...

  • once and for all and realize the US is anything but an ally.
    • What about European surveillance then? I don't know if there is anything going on on the EU level but some member states (Sweden in particular) already does the same kind of mass surveillance that the NSA is doing. I would not be surprised if other states does the same thing as well.
      • by fazig ( 2909523 )
        What about that?
        While some may call it hypocrisy if those nations do it to their own citizens, it doesn't justify the mass surveillance from a foreign entity.
        How do you think the US government would react if it became public that those EU countries, that spy on their own people, targeted the US population? Perhaps they'd also invite the Russians and Chinese to the party.
  • Ombudsmen, dispute resolution policies, mandatory arbitration. Fuck this. If corporations want to be people, then I want to be able to sue them for breaking the law and violating my rights. If foreign governments spy on me, I want to be able to get a restraining order on them.

    • I wonder what an ombudsman really is. like really. is it a particular person, does it always have to be a man? even the word, where does it come from? ombudsman. it just kind of falls our of your mouth like steve urkel. did I do that? try saying it or typing it three times fast!

      • by Teun ( 17872 )
        Ever heard of Google search? This is where it might lead you: []

        Anyhow, the office of the modern Ombudsman was around 1241 invented in Sweden and because it was successful other countries followed suit. The Ombudsman is an impartial officer or public advocate that will investigate complaints.

        They usually have a mandate for a particular field of expertise, in this case privacy infractions on EU civilians, and the mandate will also specify how serious their ruling is going
      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        I wonder what an ombudsman really is.

        Here is a picture of ours [].

  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @10:52AM (#51361027)
    ...with one large circular file.
  • TFA is pretty thin on details ... as in it doesn't have any.

    So, what, an American agency is suggesting there's an American to poo-poo privacy concerns and rubber stamp everything as OK?

    Sorry, how the data sharing agreement stays null and void, and the US stops acting like they have some right to this information, and that if they want it they do it with the right paperwork and in accordance with the law?

    This is just a proposal to have some idiot flunky say "trust us, it's fine". Yeah, sorry, let the rest o

    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      What stands out is that it would be a EU office, following EU laws, so I don't know why you refer to American agencies or laws.
      • Re:Bullshit ... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @12:51PM (#51361391) Homepage

        Then read the damned article:

        the latest proposal to be floated by the US is the creation of a privacy ombudsman. The independent overseeing body would be charged with not only checking that data transfers between countries were carried out correctly, but also will be handing complaints from Europe.

        No, sorry, this is Americans suggesting they put up their own privacy ombudsman to oversee how America does at violating EU privacy laws.

        So, I'll tell you what, let the Americans make a request to EU agencies who are already under this jurisdiction, instead of creating some bullshit fantasy where an American agency is trusted to do it.

        What, you think Americans would accept a fucking Chinese ombudsman overseeing snooping into American citizens?

        America does not have the credibility for this. This is the fucking fox guarding the hen house. Because if it is in any way under the sway of the US government, they'll just invoke secret security laws and make them lie about it.

        Bullshit, this is just a dodge to get around oversight and following the laws. Handling complaints from Europe when the ruling will be that you've complied with the law even if it's a lie?

        Yeah, right, tell me another one Pinocchio.

        Wah wah wah .... stop pretending like the rest of the world needs to be acceding to US snooping like it's your right. Nobody else believes that shit but you.

        • by Teun ( 17872 )
          I have to humbly excuse myself for not reading the article correctly.
          Thanks for pointing it out!

          the latest proposal to be floated by the US is the creation of a privacy ombudsman. The independent overseeing body would be charged with not only checking that data transfers between countries were carried out correctly, but also will be handing complaints from Europe.

          This is indeed a wholly different issue and I agree with those that are sceptical, modern US law (not just privacy!) is way to fragile to make for an independent ombudsman, I hope the EU politicians will simply carry this idea to it's grave.

  • The California Franchise Tax Board has Ombudsmen.

    Being paid by the state, you can guess their answer when you raise a grievance against the state...

  • Europeans generally have a higher trust in their own government, than a private cooperation.
    We especially do not trust large foreign corporations.
    I don't mind paying a little extra for my goods in the short run, if this can prevent large corporations gaining too much power in the long run. (Yes, this might hamper 'competition' for them)
    As long as it is a level playing field, European rules in Europe, and US rules in the US.
    How would the Americans react if most of their data was spied upon (E-Mail, credit ca

    • by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @12:09PM (#51361279)
      I think the large "American" multi-national corporations should be considered "Foreign Corporations", as they clearly don't care about the USA.
    • by Teun ( 17872 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @12:59PM (#51361415) Homepage
      An example that brings out the difference in democracy between say The Netherlands and the US is the amount of money spend during elections.

      The combined budgets of the various Dutch political parties for national elections will probably be around ten million euro's, that's divided over 20 different groups and 150 seats on a population of 17 million.
      For the US population equivalent it would be less than 500 million. This is one reason we can still trust politics, it's near impossible to buy yourself a seat.

      And then there is the fact that many EU countries will never have a single party government, it's typically a coalition of different parties.
      • The interesting thing about that is that despite the common wisdom being that elections can be bought in the U.S., it does not actually work out that way. For example, this election cycle Jeb Bush out raised all of his opponents combined. Yet, somehow he is turning out to be an also-ran in the actual elections.
        Similar things happened in our last election cycle. Eric Cantor, who was one of the most powerful men in Congress, outspent his primary opponent on the order of 10:1, yet lost decisively.
        • by ixuzus ( 2418046 )
          Yes, but are these results typical or outliers?
          • They are neither typical nor outliers. They indicate that the "received wisdom" is wrong. There are two facts which interact to create the result which the received wisdom interprets as buying elections.
            • Those who donate to campaigns are more likely to give, and give more, to someone they perceive as likely to win.
            • People tend to vote based on name recognition. Those who spend more on advertising are more likely to be "name recognized" by voters who are barely paying attention.

            The second sounds like buying

  • The amount of surveillance that is considered acceptable in the US isn't even acceptable within the US to anyone except primarily the older generations who know nothing about it and are voting based on a position of ignorance and fear of what they don't know.

    We just have an issue of the older generation also being out biggest voters which is what is causing much of our problems as they are voting based on a rose tinted yesteryear that doesn't exist anymore and for many of them never existed to begin with ou

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2016 @01:49PM (#51361619)

    The US government should not be allowed to behave like a rogue state. I'd like to see an EU agency handle complaints. I don't believe that self regulation can work, or any agency run by the US regime. Self regulation was tried with the financial sector, and breathtaking levels of criminality resulted. Illegally spying on the citizens of other countries should be dealt with in the countries against which the crimes occurred. Those who were responsible should be stripped of diplomatic immunity, declared persona non grata, have their assets frozen, and be subject to international arrest warrants. If the US refuses to deport them, there should be sanctions instituted against any companies with which they are involved. Since most US politicians are apparently taking 'contributions' [known as bribes in the rest of the world] from corporations, that would rapidly lead to some corporate pressure against this kind of criminality.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.