Yahoo Email Scanning May Sink EU Privacy Shield Agreement
from the nsa-fucking-things-up-again dept
After the US/EU “safe harbor” on data protection was tossed out thanks to NSA spying being incompatible with EU rights, everyone had tried to patch things up with the so-called “Privacy Shield.” As we noted at the time, as long as the NSA’s mass surveillance remained in place, the Privacy Shield agreement would fail as well. This wasn’t that difficult to predict.
And there are already some challenges to the Privacy Shield underway, including by Max Schrems, who brought the original challenge that invalidated the old safe harbor. But things may have accelerated a bit this week with the story of Yahoo scanning all emails. This news has woken up a bunch of EU politicians and data protection officials, leading to some serious questions about whether it violates the Privacy Shield agreement.
Johannes Kleis, a spokesman with BEUC, an umbrella group for European consumer organisations, called on other EU data protection authorities to investigate Yahoo.
Fabio de Masi, a German member of the European parliament with the leftist Die Linke party called on the EU high representative for external affairs Federica Mogherini to seek clarification from US authorities about the treatment of EU data.
And elsewhere as well:
“It goes far beyond what is acceptable,” said Johannes Caspar, Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Hamburg, Germany.
Over in the European Parliament, Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld has asked the EU Commission to investigate:
While some keep arguing that the whole idea of a safe harbor or privacy shield is a problem, that’s not really true. Enabling more easy data flows between countries on a borderless internet is really important for keeping the internet really global. This is a serious issue. The problem is the NSA’s surveillance activities undermining all of this, and continually (rightfully) freaking out people in other countries about what happens to data that flows into the US. The answer is not to dump agreements that enable the free flow of data, but to stop mass surveillance activities.
Once again, it appears that overly aggressive mass surveillance by the US intelligence community is creating massive headaches for American internet companies.