EU-USA: Negotiating away EU data protection

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The EU and USA are negotiating in a secret committee - High Level Contact Group - to come up with a proposal covering data protection in all future exchanges of personal data to the USA. To this end they are discussing: Data Protection principles for which common language has been developed (EU document, pdf).

Paul Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the US DHS said, in November 2007, on the EU requirement that data can only be passed to third states whose laws passed the "adequacy" test guaranteeing equivalent rights:

"The EU should reconsider its decision to apply notions of adequacy to the critical area of law enforcement and public safety. Otherwise the EU runs the very real risk of turning itself into a self-imposed island, isolated from the very allies it needs" (Privacy and Security Law)

He is also opposed to the EU's draft Framework Decision on data protection in police and criminal matters (covering the exchange of personal data within the EU), on this:

"The draft seeks to apply the same tired, failed standards of adequacy that it has applied in its commercial laws." [EC Directive 95/46/EC)

The 1974 US Privacy Law gives no protection to non-US citizens, from the EU or elsewhere.

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