Big questions remain over EU-US Safe Harbour data transfer agreement, say S&D MEPs

Big questions remain over EU-US Safe Harbour data transfer agreement, say S&D MEPs, European data protection authorities, Birgit Sippel, Claude Moraes MEP, fundamental rights,

Ahead of a meeting of European data protection authorities today, S&D MEPs noted the importance that some form of agreement was reached between the European Commission and US government over the transfer of European citizens' data. However, they also stressed that serious concerns remain over the agreement reached; particularly that it doesn't address the problems of the previous Safe Harbour agreement that was deemed illegal by the European Court of Justice in October.

S&D Spokesperson for civil liberties, justice and home affairs, Birgit Sippel said:

"It was good for European citizens and businesses that some form of agreement was reached between the US authorities and European Commission over the transfer of data. However the agreement presented yesterday does not appear to rectify the problems with the previous system and unless significant improvements are made then it is unlikely to stand up in court. The US authorities need to actually wake up and see that real changes are needed to their mass surveillance programs in order to address European citizen's concerns. We call on both the US government and European Commission to recognise the seriousness of this or we will find ourselves back in the same position in two years."

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

"The European Parliament has played a strong role in trying to make Safe Harbour "safe" from the beginning and it has long warned of the shortcomings of the agreement, and we have held several hearings in order to highlight loopholes in the agreement with regards to fundamental rights. We are still deeply concerned that this new arrangement does not satisfy these loopholes. Unless we see significant movement from the US side then this agreement will go the same way as Safe Harbour."