Friday, October 18, 2013


The European Union is about to outlaw data transfers to the US. The reason? The NSA:

New European rules aimed at curbing questionable transfers of data from EU countries to the US are being finalised in Brussels in the first concrete reaction to the Edward Snowden disclosures on US and British mass surveillance of digital communications.

Regulations on European data protection standards are expected to pass the European parliament committee stage on Monday after the various political groupings agreed on a new compromise draft following two years of gridlock on the issue.

The draft would make it harder for the big US internet servers and social media providers to transfer European data to third countries, subject them to EU law rather than secret American court orders, and authorise swingeing fines possibly running into the billions for the first time for not complying with the new rules.

The immediate effect will be to force those US-based companies (and NZ ones) to locate their services in the EU, keeping their data out of NSA hands. But it will also create immense pressure from the US tech industry for their government to negotiate a data-privacy agreement, which will be required to conform to EU law. Of course, the NSA could always just ignore that treaty, or rely on its British subsidiaries "partners", but this is a start, and a good one.