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The new data protection agreement between the EU and the USA: a hangover alert

The new data protection agreement between the EU and the USA: a hangover alert

The EU has once again concluded an agreement with the US on data protection. It does nothing to improve existing surveillance other than to legitimize it.

No change to US surveillance practice: NSA headquarters at Fort Meade Photo: NSA/Reuters

Is this confirmed? Ignorance? Is it green? However, what the EU Commission finally decided this week is a fraud on citizens: their new data protection agreement with the US. This is the basis for companies such as Meta or Amazon, but also many smaller companies with lesser-known names that can process personal data from people in the EU in the US without any problems.

Why did the EU enter into this agreement? Because the former two were overruled by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Protection against the surveillance interests of the Secret Service on the other side of the Atlantic was very weak, and legal remedies for victims against it were inadequate or non-existent.

After all, this time the EU Commission has given it a name that can easily be mocked. Instead of a “safe harbor” and a “privacy shield” that turned out to be not as secure and full of loopholes, there is now a relaxed data protection framework agreement.

Unfortunately, the EU Commission also avoided doing this in its negotiations with the US: to make substantial improvements. A decree issued by US President Biden last fall formed the basis of the new deal, which has a mirror image of insomnia awareness: the appearance can be restored with a little cosmetics. But behind it is still a state of desolation.

There is no change in the monitoring procedure

The US decree contains some formal concessions to what the ECJ has set as basic requirements for future data protection agreements. Requirements to make the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US compatible with EU fundamental rights are met. The problem is that this is unlikely to change much in American surveillance practice.

A political decision is rarely one made on merit. This is almost always a signal. Is government, Secret Service surveillance a serious problem? Is the practically unlimited collection of personal data, fundamental to the business model of big tech companies, a problem?

Here’s the signal from the EU Commission: OK, maybe a small problem, but we can solve it with some good clauses. Dear users, don’t worry, we will take care and you can continue to feed companies with your data.

Unfortunately, the reality is different: nothing is resolved. A practice already in place has been formalized. Thumbs down once again, at least until the ECJ concludes Treaty No. 3.