EU Digital Habeas Corpus Would Defend Privacy




12 Feb 2014


Brussels, Belgium



Edited Package
Stand-up CB on A European Parliamentary panel has wrapped up a six-moth investigation of US surveillance, calling for concrete steps to defend Europeans' privacy. It reflects Europeans' anger over the massive Prism spying program. But it also notes the need to take into consideration government efforts to prevent possible terror attacks.
Committee votes to approve


Setup Axel Voss CB off Approved by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the report was the result of 15 hearings, with EU and US officials and experts participating. The cross-party mission evaluated the extent of the surveillance by the US National Security Agency, its implications for Europeans and what measures to take. Axel Voss is the EPP Group's spokesman on the committee and is shadow rapporteur of the report.
Interview Axel Voss, German MEP on The first one for me would be independence of technology. That European industry will be better-placed in this area. And of course the second one would be better data protection, for privacy and data protection issues for our citizens. And the third one would be also better protecting our EU institutions because they are spying on us and this mass surveillance also on our institutions and our representatives. And so therefore I would say we have to secure our telephone lines, our emails, our SMS and so on.
Commitee CB off The panel drew up a list of reasons to act, or not, evaluating potential effects of clamping down on spying, and at what risk to anti-terror investigations.
Axel Voss, German MEP on The balance situation is not what I would say, this is a really balanced situation between security and privacy issues. This is more on the privacy issues and protecting more and more the citizens and not having mind also fighting counterfeiting, terrorism, organised crime or serious crimes. So this is from my perspective should be a better balanced situation. Leave alone the Swift agreement or TFTP agreement and other political groups would like to suspend it. It´s quite important to suspend more the Safe Harbour mechanism and to improve everything regarding the transferring of private data from Europe to the US. But there we have an imbalanced situation from my point of view.
Computers, surveillance
CB off The report concluded with a seven-point plan calling for an EU digital Habeas Corpus to better defend the right to privacy. It called for suspension of the Safe Harbour Agreement that allows exchange of personal data between the US and Europe, pending review of the process and the closing of any loopholes. In the longer term, the report calls for a European policy on IT independence.
Voss on We have to have the courage to get more independence from US technics and technology. So routing might lead to a better situation for our privacy. The metadata and the processing of metadata alsoshould be more Europeanised and also trying to find if we are doing research to protect the results of our research and to protect also the results of our industry, for not having this economic espionage.
Committee CB off The next steps – set up monitoring and an oversight mechanism this spring. The full Parliament is to vote on the report in March.
Stand-up CB on A digital Habeas Corpus could be a significant step in defending Europeans' right to privacy. But it is hoped that doesn't mean shutting down legitimate anti-terror investigations. It´s a difficult balance to strike in a European Parliament with sharply differing views.
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Headline EU Digital Habeas Corpus would defend privacy.

Description After a six-month probe into the Prism scandal, the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee has called for a digital Habeas Corpus to defend Europeans' right to privacy. But the committee report, supported by the EPP Group, also notes the need to allow anti-terror investigations to ensure security for all Europeans.
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