Socialist and Democrat MEPs have welcomed today's judgement by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that the current data protection agreement between the United States and the EU, known as 'Safe Harbour', is incompatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
Birgit Sippel, S&D spokesperson for civil liberties, justice and home affairs said:
"We welcome today's decision by the ECJ to declare the Safe Harbour agreement with the United States invalid."
"We have constantly said that the current agreement does not provide meaningful protection to EU citizens. We have always believed that it fails to protect personal data, leaves citizens without effective judicial protection, and fails to protect against indiscriminate surveillance of data by US intelligence agencies. The Commission should have rectified these failings long before this case was ever brought to court. If they had done so we would not face the legal uncertainty that we do now.
"The Commission and the US must now act immediately to address this situation. Ideally the US should implement legislation that meets the data protection standards set out by the Commission. However, as this has proved impossible so far, we must ensure US companies using EU citizens' data reach the level required. This means completing the comprehensive data protection regulation as soon as possible. Until this comes into force we want a binding measure that guarantees legal certainty, contains comprehensive redress rights and can be enforced in a robust and thorough manner. These measures must be overseen by an independent authority with enforcement rights.
"Regarding the national security exception that the US has previously insisted on, this must only be used when strictly necessary, in a proportionate manner and should never include the indiscriminate bulk transfers of personal data that were revealed in the Edward Snowden case."