Europeans: NSA disclosures should end privacy deal

Members of the European Parliament are urging the body to suspend a data privacy deal with the United States in the wake of disclosures about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance.

News about the controversial snooping, revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has shown that American companies are not complying with the international data protection agreement, European lawmakers said. As a result, they want the deal scuttled.

"Big data business say 'thank you' while E.U. citizens and consumers lose trust on their governments,” Jan Albrecht, a German member of the European Parliament, said in a statement on Wednesday.

ADVERTISEMENT
"If we don't stop the circumvention of E.U. laws by U.S. companies and cancel Safe Harbour we will not only lose the sovereignty of the European Union but also the trust of citizens in the E.U.”

The safe harbor arrangement allows American companies to collect and process European citizens’ personal data. But recent disclosures about U.S. surveillance efforts have shown that government officials have the ability to access information about foreign citizens, which has raised alarms around the globe and concerned European lawmakers.

The European Commission released 13 recommendations to improve the U.S.-EU deal late last year. But some lawmakers say that’s not enough.

"By canceling Safe Habour we will pave the way for a new partnership with the U.S. in the future,” Parliament member Manfred Weber said in a statement. "We will not tolerate Americans and Europeans are divided into first and second class citizens as regards their data protection.”

President Obama will announce reforms to the NSA and other surveillance agencies in a speech at the Justice Department on Friday. He is expected to back new measures of privacy protection for foreign citizens, among other provisions.