Europe plays Trump card to disguise Privacy Shield shortcomings

Europe’s Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has stated she will tear up the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement should President Trump continue on his quest to increase surveillance powers.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Jourova said she would suspend the agreement, which (in theory) protects the domestic privacy rights of European citizens in the US, should US agencies violate the agreement in any manner. Considering the path on which Trump is thundering along, it does appear extended powers for some intelligence agencies could infringe on the European definition of privacy.

Although this could be considered a statement of intent from the European Commission (otherwise known as the Gaggle of Red-tapers), it could also be considered a case of covering its tracks. It does seem very convenient to blame an entity out of the control of the Gaggle, especially considering the EU-US Privacy Shield has faced criticism since its inception.

Drafted quickly as a replacement for the now-defunct Safe Harbour agreement, the EU-US Privacy Shield has been under fire since its introduction. European Data Protection Supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli and the Article 29 Working Party, both influential voices in Europe, stated the accord would not be robust enough to maintain European principles once put under stress.

These concerns were raised last May and April respectively, though we should have little surprise the ever-efficient Gaggle of Red-tapers is only just addressing the worries now. It does seem like the boring bureaucrats were waiting for an excuse to scrap the agreement, as opposed to self-appraisal to come to the conclusion it was slightly sloppy work.

On the surface, the threat does seem to have hit a chord with the Americans, though how concerned they are with the whining of the redundant rule-makers remains to be seen as it could just as much be a diplomatic move to make the right noises; a political pat on the head to say there-there of course you are important and we value your opinion.

Bruce Swartz, Deputy Assistant Attorney General stated he “looks forward to working closely with the commission in the weeks and months ahead to protect the privacy and security.”

Elsewhere in the office of the repugnant regulators, the team has released its Digital Economy and Society Index, which measures the performance of the 28 Member States in moving towards the digital era.

“Europe is gradually becoming more digital but many countries need to step up their efforts,” said Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market. “All Member States should invest more to fully benefit from the Digital Single Market. We do not want a two-speed digital Europe. We should work together to make the EU a digital world leader.”

While progress has been made in the majority of countries, the loathsome legislator is concerned the gap between the top performers and the bottom dwellers is too large. Denmark, Finland and Sweden top the European rankings, with the arid authority also claiming these nations were the top three worldwide beating the likes South Korea, Japan and the United States in digital preparedness.

The single market is a must for the EU should it want to compete with other geographies who have similar populations and markets but benefit from a borderless landscape, however the difference between the top and the bottom is still too much to fulfil promises currently.

Daily Poll

What did you feel was the biggest talking point to come out of MWC 2017?

  • Still miles away from 5G (28%, 42 Votes)
  • The telcos are still struggling (20%, 30 Votes)
  • 5G is almost there (17%, 26 Votes)
  • IoT has matured (12%, 18 Votes)
  • IoT will not deliver the promised revenues (9%, 13 Votes)
  • VR is WTF (5%, 8 Votes)
  • Data analytics still hasn't been addressed (5%, 7 Votes)
  • VR is OMFG (3%, 5 Votes)
  • The telcos have found their place (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 149

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