Monday

25th Jun 2018

US to EU: data laws could 'cripple' law enforcement

  • The US says EU data reforms could "cripple" law enforcement (Photo: The Planet)

EU data protection reforms could "cripple" international law enforcement said the head of international law of the US department of justice at a European Parliament hearing on Wednesday (10 October).

The deputy assistant attorney general, Bruce Swartz, told MEPs that European Commission proposals requiring the renegotiation of international treaties within five years as well as those on data transfer rules would "cripple international investigations."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

The new directive would make it "virtually impossible for EU member states to enter into bilateral agreements on law enforcement," he added.

Chapter five of the directive says personal data transfers to non-EU countries in relation to international crime prevention can only take place for countries deemed to have adequate data protection rules.

Although the US is among a handful of countries to pass the EU's test, Swartz said the system would paralyse work with the near 200 countries active in Interpol, the international police body based in The Hague.

"There would have to be a derogation [a legal exemption] for every single data transfer request," he said.

In response, commission official Paul Nemetz, the director of its justice department, said the provisions are not new and already existed in EU law.

The proposed EU data protection package was unveiled by justice commissioner Viviane Reding in February and is now being debated by MEPs and government ministers.

It includes steps to allow individuals to control the use of their data and to tighten rules on data transfers to businesses and governments outside the EU.

But MEPs are likely to want to strengthen controls over data transfers to third countries.

A working paper released on Monday (8 October) by parliament's rapporteur, German Green MEP Jan Philip Albrecht, said that "access requests by public authorities or courts in third said to personal data stored and processed in the EU should only be granted if they also have a legal basis in EU law."

It added that "for further transfers to third countries, the criteria for an adequacy decision may need to be strengthened."

Adequacy decisions are made by the commission following an assessment by the EU's "Article 29 Working Group" on data protection.

Meanwhile, under Article 34 of the commission proposal, in the absence of an adequacy decision, the EU executive can allow data transfers to take place "on the basis of appropriate safeguards and derogations."

MEPs have previously raised concerns about data transfer deals negotiated by the European Commission and the US, notably the Swift agreement on bank data and the PNR deal on air passengers.

Negotiations on the new legislation are expected to be protracted - parliament's civil liberties committee is yet to debate a draft report.

With the committee unlikely to adopt a negotiating position before spring 2013, commission sources said a deal might not be agreed by the end of next year.

EU hands personal data to US authorities on daily basis

EU and US co-operation in combatting terrorism remains shrouded in secrecy as Europol, the EU police agency, refuses to render public an inspection report that details how financial data is handed over to US authorities.

EU data protection rules 'on schedule' despite delay

Despite not having begun formal deliberations in committee, the European Parliament is on course to define its position on the EU's new data protection regime by mid-2013, according to data privacy expert Sophie In't Veld.

EU leaders still in search of migration plan

Select EU leaders met amid rising tension over migration, with Italy's PM, who had threatened to boycott the summit, putting forward a new plans to stop boats from leaving Libya.

Feature

EU and Turkey fight for 'lost generation'

Some 300,000 school-age Syrian children in Turkey are not enrolled in classes. Fears they may end up in sweatshops or forced to beg have triggered efforts by the EU, Unicef, and the Turkish government to keep them in school.

News in Brief

  1. EP civil liberties committee votes for Article 7 on Hungary
  2. Report blames 2017 egg scare on lax EU enforcement
  3. Nine countries to sign up for Macron's military initiative
  4. Re-elected Erdogan potentially in power until 2028
  5. Macron's popularity drops among French pensioners
  6. Tajani calls for €6bn investment to halt migration
  7. Major demo in London for second EU referendum
  8. Venice Commission: Hungary should repeal NGO law

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  2. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  4. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  5. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  7. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  11. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  12. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform

Latest News

  1. Progressive CAP alternative only hope for sustainability
  2. Ponytailed green MEP joins 'the other side of the table'
  3. EU leaders still in search of migration plan
  4. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  5. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future
  6. Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China
  7. Merkel and Juncker's mini-summit risks fiasco
  8. Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us