This could bring a rapid end to the continued growth of the global data-mining business:
The European Commission has warned EU citizens that they should close their Facebook accounts if they want to keep information private from US security services, finding that current Safe Harbour legislation does not protect citizen’s data.
The comments were made by EC attorney Bernhard Schima in a case brought by privacy campaigner Maximilian Schrems, looking at whether the data of EU citizens should be considered safe if sent to the US in a post-Snowden revelation landscape.
“You might consider closing your Facebook account, if you have one,” Schima told attorney general Yves Bot in a hearing of the case at the European court of justice in Luxembourg.
When asked directly, the commission could not confirm to the court that the Safe Harbour rules provide adequate protection of EU citizens’ data as it currently stands. The case, dubbed “the Facebook data privacy case”, concerns the current Safe Harbour framework, which covers the transmission of EU citizens’ data across the Atlantic to the US. Without the framework, it is against EU law to transmit private data outside of the EU. The case collects complaints lodged against Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Microsoft-owned Skype and Yahoo.
Schrems maintains that companies operating inside the EU should not be allowed to transfer data to the US under Safe Harbour protections – which state that US data protection rules are adequate if information is passed by companies on a “self-certify” basis – because the US no longer qualifies for such a status.
Fortunately, we can be certain that the federal government would never sacrifice economic growth for centralized regulatory power, right? This could prove a rather serious problem if the one of the proposed engines of US economic recovery turns out to be intrinsically illegal in most of the rest of the world.
I’ve noticed that between Russia’s move away from SWIFT, the support for the Chinese alternative to the IMF, the fall of Yemen, and the complete lack of European support for the USA’s adventures in Ukraine, the world appears to be increasingly disinclined to follow the US lead. This does not bode well for the US if it indicates that the global perception of its effective power is on the decline.