back to article Safe Harbor crunch time: Today's the day to hammer out privacy deal

US and EC (European Commission) officials have until the end of the day today to reach a new Safe Harbor agreement or risk a breakdown of transatlantic e-commerce. Despite furious efforts over three months and, for the past few weeks, daily meetings between officials, the two sides are still reportedly at loggerheads over two …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What does happen will be decided in the next 24 hours.

    Where's Jack Bauer when you need him?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "What does happen will be decided in the next 24 hours."

    Plenty of time to negotiate. Slowly let the ressure grow.

  3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Easy Peasy

    A clear explanation over what access US security services have to data sent from Europe.

    They have access to everything.

    How European citizens can sue if they believe their data has been mishandled.

    They cannot.

    [ The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of the author ]

    1. Steve Gill

      Re: Easy Peasy

      ^[ The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of the author ]^

      Simply an expression of the truth

  4. Wommit

    Umm...

    "exceptional circumstances" 1) You are breathing. 2) You are not POTUS. (bit iffy that second one.)

    "Some companies have claimed that changes to their terms and conditions have the same sort of legal protection that the Safe Harbor agreement provided." It isn't the companies at fault. It's the US government and associated three letter agencies. The US government will decide what is 'legal' and what isn't. They will also decide whether the data subject gets to know about the spaffing of their data, or not. What the data subject doesn't know they can't complain about.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Antonymous Coward
      Pirate

      Re: Umm...

      Exactly. Not to mention appending you to all manner of deeply insalubrious "lists" if your sdoopid enough to make a nuisance of yourself.

      "European officials are unsure whether that arrangement would provide real accountability or is just a sop to get the deal done. Their proposal is to let European data protection authorities investigate complaints."

      "Unsure"? Seriously? No they're not. I doubt there's a single soul on this earth who'd be anything but sure of exactly what that "offer" amounts to. Sadly I also doubt that'll do anything to stop it being rubber stamped through.

      SAFE HARBOR II

      The Lie That Just Won't Die

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Umm...

      Just make it nice and simple, no written permission from the identified persons and no EU warrant, no access. Easy.

  5. Vimes

    If the fundamental problem is the access granted to information to US agencies by US law, then surely the very nationality of the companies involved should be under closer scrutiny, and not just where they store the data?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's a very polite way of saying yanks go home.

      1. Wolfclaw Silver badge

        Incorrect, Yank security services and political poodles go home, your ordinary US citizen is more than welcome, well, most of them that haven't be found guilty of major crimes, or in the UK, speeding or overstaying in a parking spot !

    2. Brent Beach

      People often say that just because their banking system is completely corrupt, that does not mean that all Americans are corrupt.

      People often say that just because all their politicians are corrupt - and in at least one of the two parties - probably certifiable - that does not mean that all Americans are corrupt and certifiable.

      People are now saying that just because their Security establishment is obsessed with committing illegal acts that are of no possible use to anyone, that not all Americans are crazy when it comes to security. However, the land of the free is now clearly the land ruled by the paranoid.

      I am beginning to wonder if perhaps these examples that have been portrayed as outliers, not representative of average Americans, are in fact accurate scientific evidence of a national ethical and moral collapse.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "EC officials are obliged to make sure the ECJ's concerns are dealt with adequately. Diplomatic fudges and creative ambiguity are in limited supply. In addition, a failure to reach agreement would disproportionately impact US businesses such as Facebook and Google, putting US negotiators in a tough spot."

    As one of Nixon's henchmen said, when you have them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.

    It's all getting very interesting.

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Good lord.. what is so hard about the our favorite TLA's and FLA's just not tapping into the data outside of their country? They will still exchange relevant (for some value of relevant) information as always.

    Of course, the simple answer is, there's no simple answer where power and control are involved....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Baldly put, if it's any signal is on/from foreign soil, it's the duty of our TLAs and FLAs to get out there and collect them all. A shit load of fiber crosses and/or terminates in the UK and I've yet to hear that GCHQ isn't at the least sniffing that data in transit. Why is the NSA treated differently. I seem to recall a scene in "Monster Express" where Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are sitting in there railroad compartment and were accused of being the monster. "Monster. Monster? But we're English!"

      1. The Islander
        Thumb Up

        re: Monster Express

        A not so forgotten minor gem, have an up-vote!

    2. dan1980

      Except the data IS in their country. That's the point of this - it's about EU data being stored in the US.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It should never have exsted!

    Why should there be a safe harbor deal? Without that, each US company becomes separately liable and cannot hide behind Uncle Sam.

    Either that or they move EU data into Europe into an EU controlling company.

    You allowed a special get-out clause, they pissed all over it, now its gone. There is zero reason to renew it, and if you wanted a special clause, that clause would be "move the data to EU under EU liable company"! i.e. exactly what the underlying law requires anyway.

    Google and Facebook can move the data to Europe or f*** off. Every company that thinks its bigger than its customer ultimately ends up like Microsoft, overtaken and side-stepped by the next player.

    What we don't want is another Manuel Barosso figure. Signing away access to sensitive commercial, financial data in one sided agreement like he's acting under duress.... Well post Snowden, we know he was acting under duress, but even then we knew he wasn't acting for Europe.

    You EU negotiators CANNOT sign any agreement that sends data to the US, because the EU's right to privacy is what REQUIRES the data protection. So no matter if the US has you by the surveillance balls, you CANNOT sign away that privacy right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It should never have exsted!

      The assumption here seems to be that Europe is its own real safe-harbor because we supposedly have such good data-laws.

      This has already been declared a myth by a professor in the register.

      Europe is very divided and have opt-out clauses etc. The country that Schrem came from (Austria) itself opted out of the European Data Retention policy. in 2014, so they can retain whatever they want.

      The countries that are part of Five Eye, 7 Eye, 9 Eye and 14 Eye have many streams of info between them.

      a. If the lesson of the Great War (WW1) was that countries should stop secret mutual-defense treaties than maybe it is time to apply that to the flows of information.

      b. A confederate Europe with many pencil-pushers that do not have their own web-tech is a bit of a farce.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It should never have exsted!

        The assumption here seems to be that Europe is its own real safe-harbor because we supposedly have such good data-laws.

        This has already been declared a myth by a professor in the register.

        It would be good if you could point me in the direction of that article (always interested to learn more, and I seem to have missed that one).

        The point is not that the EU is perfect, only that it is better than US in protecting privacy. When the ECJ ruled on Facebook vs Max Schrems, what they concluded was that the word "adequate" no longer applies.

        I am with the OP (original poster) in that Safe Harbor never was. The very idea of self certification of Safe Harbor is laughable in the face of how important some of that data is, because it means any idiot could claim to be compliant (after all, with fines that pathetic there was little business risk doing so). Frankly, the howling from US side is pretty disingenuous - they have known for years they were on shaky grounds but the only thing they have attempted to do so far to address this was to attempt weakening EU standards.

        I do not think Europe should give any concessions - that time has gone. Silicon Valley knows what it is going to lose - let that internal political pressure do its work States' side.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It should never have exsted!

          Coincidentally, there's a great cacophony of boasting today that Google/Alphabet is now the most "valuable" company on the planet.

          I can see that (and a huge heap of shit of a very similar nature) being very easy to... er.. fix ;-)

          Short and curlies.

        2. Vimes

          Re: It should never have exsted!

          The point is not that the EU is perfect, only that it is better than US in protecting privacy.

          Perhaps more importantly those living in the EU also actually get some sort of say over what goes on in the EU. We at least have the opportunity to change the rules if we don't like them, even if change is far from certain.

          Compare and contrast that to how EU citizens are dealt with by the US: when it comes to rights we don't even exist as people (or at least have next to none of the rights afforded to those people fortunate enough to be US citizens).

          1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

            Re: It should never have exsted!

            Compare and contrast that to how EU citizens are dealt with by the US

            Actually, AFAIK, anyone in the US legally gets close to the same rights and freedoms and a US citizen.

            It's non-US citizens who are outside the US who have no rights. This probably harks back to the old days before the internet: Why would they need rights in the US if they are not in the US?

            1. Vimes

              Re: It should never have exsted!

              It's non-US citizens who are outside the US who have no rights.

              Which is pretty much the group I was referring to (or was intending to anyway considering that the discussion involves the location of data rather than physical presence). Consider the original post suitably modified (I can't do it myself since it's now older than the magical 10 minute limit).

              My original point is still valid IMO though: if we have issues with how our data is being handled within the EU then we at least have a chance of being able to change things. That chance drops to zero when it involves the US.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: It should never have exsted!

                My original point is still valid IMO though: if we have issues with how our data is being handled within the EU then we at least have a chance of being able to change things. That chance drops to zero when it involves the US.

                Not in the least because US companies seem to be able to treat any laws as mere optional guidelines without any real consequences.

    2. Steve Gill

      Re: It should never have exsted!

      Except that still wouldn't work as according to US law the US govt and state authorities have access to any data held by a US based company.

      The only way to make the data safe enough for EU laws under current the current US laws would be to store the data in Europe on servers owned by wholly European companies. Those big US companies would have to spin-off all their European activities into totally independent entities.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019