Data protection: Snowden case highlights need for trustworthy rules

Trust in the US took a hit following revelations of mass surveillance by Edward Snowden, but an agreement on data protection adopted by MEPs should help to restore it.

The deal known as the umbrella agreement covers the transfer of all personal data exchanged across the Atlantic when dealing with criminal offences, including terrorism.

Green German MEP Jan Albrecht, who was responsible for steering the deal through Parliament », said it would ensure “high standards and high protection”.

The umbrella agreement on data protection is about high standards and high protection for personal data when it is transferred between police authorities in Europe and in the United States.

« The Snowden case was very important as it showed that the United States needs to deliver on trustworthy data protection rules when it comes to security

We pushed for  the umbrella agreement to be adopted in order to restore trust. We are very happy that we managed it, at least concerning police matters, as the intelligence services are not covered by this agreement. We still need to improve and work more on this side », said MEP Jan Albrecht.

 The Judicial Redress Act in the US paved the way for the umbrella agreement by giving people living in the EU the right to challenge in US courts how their date is used the agreement (US nationals already enjoy this right in the EU).

Jan Albrecht / EU

The umbrella agreement covers the transfer of all personal data, such as names, addresses or criminal records, exchanged between the EU and US for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences, including terrorism.

Asked about the umbrella agreement and things like the Judicial Redress Act enough to ensure data protection when cooperating on police and judicial matters, Jan Albrecht replied:

« The Judicial Redress Act in the United States is very important. For the first time in history the United Stated opened up their fundamental rights to non-US citizens or residents. This is important because otherwise we couldn’t transfer data anymore to the United States as the European Court of Justice had already decided that this is an essential element of any such agreement. »





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