Someone tell the Eurosceptics who’s standing up to the US over PRISM

As we blogged a few days ago, one of the things Eurosceptics are probably rather uncomfortable with at present is the fact that it's the European Union which is acting as a bulwark against American attempts to snoop on the browsing habits of us Europeans.

As we blogged a few days ago, one of the things Eurosceptics are probably rather uncomfortable with right now is the fact that it’s the European Union which is acting as a bulwark against American attempts to snoop on the browsing habits of us Europeans.

As Matthew Yglesias put it:

“The issue is that there’s a fairly long running dispute over here in Europe over what Europeans call “data protection” and American tech companies view as excessive regulation.”

Speaking of which, here are some of the responses from the European Parliament debate on the subject of surveillance which took place on Tuesday (Hat tip: MY):

“My data belongs to me, that is the cornerstone of European thinking on data protection,” said Manfred Weber, the German vice-chair of the EPP group. “It is completely unacceptable that the US have different rules [for] US citizens and citizens of other countries.” He added: “The US approach is not our approach but we work together as partners”.

On behalf of S&D, Claude Moraes, spoke of “a major breach of trust, non compliant with EU data protection legislation”, yet cautioned that the “vital balance between security and the need to protect data, must be safeguarded”. The British MEP added: “Trust has clearly been breached. We must ensure US public authorities processing EU citizens data, do so within our standards.”

“We are failing the EU citizens and we should be ashamed of ourselves,” Sophie In’t Veld, a Dutch member of the ALDE group. She criticised the Commission and the “doublespeak” of member states. “Obama said to his citizens: ‘Don’t worry, we are not spying on you as citizens, we are only spying on foreigners.’ But this is us.” She added: “What kind of special relationship is that?”

“This not only about data protection, this is about democracy and the rule of law, which cannot be in line with mass surveillance of citizens around the world,” said Jan Philipp Albrecht. The German member of the Green group, who is responsible for steering new legislation on data protection through Parliament, said: “I would like to agree on standards with the US but we need legislative changes on the other side of the Atlantic too.”

That’s the full spectrum of European opinion right there.

One Response to “Someone tell the Eurosceptics who’s standing up to the US over PRISM”

  1. tangentreality

    It does make a rather welcome change, admittedly, when the EU acts in our interests rather than its own.

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