17:48 GMT +316 June 2019
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    EU Seeks Assurances From Trump Administration Over Data Privacy Agreement

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    The European Union's commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourova, has flown to Washington to seek urgent assurances over the Privacy Shield agreement, adopted July 2016 between the EU and the US to ensure EU citizens' data on US servers was secure from surveillance.

    Privacy Shield is the deal between the EU and the US that is supposed to safeguard all personal data on EU citizens held on computer systems in the US from being subject to mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA). The data can refer to any transaction — web purchases, cars or clothing — involving an EU citizen whose data is held on US servers.

    However, since the agreement was adopted — and Trump has become US president — executive orders have led to an increase in the surveillance environment in the US, with many raising doubts about the safeguards for EU citizens' data.

    ​Ms. Jourova told news outlet Handelsblatt in an interview that the European Union would withdraw from Privacy Shield if the Trump administration does not ensure the privacy of European data.

    ​"The commitments the US has taken must be respected, she [Jourova] has been very clear already on this and also publicly," Paul Nemitz, the European Commission's Director of Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, told the RightsCon conference in Brussels, March 29.

    According to The Intercept, Trump has signed an executive directive allowing for the National Security Agency to share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorization with 16 other agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security. 

    The US-based Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) has raised concerns about the privacy record of the Trump's new Attorney General of the United States, Senator Jeff Sessions, who has advocated for broader surveillance powers than the intelligence community (IC) itself has asked for and opposed the USA Freedom Act, which the IC supported.

    "Sessions has been a leading proponent of expanding the government's surveillance of ordinary Americans at the expense of civil rights and civil liberties. He has spent his 20-year career in the Senate arguing for broad, often unchecked surveillance powers in intelligence investigations, even though those investigations pose unnecessarily invasive risks to privacy," the CDT said in a letter to the Senate, January 2017.

    Related:

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    US-EU Privacy Shield Unlikely to 'Paper Over' Spying Controversy
    Privacy Shield ‘Shaky’, Companies May Choose More Reliable Means
    Tags:
    digital surveilance, Safe Harbor agreement, human rights, hacking, surveillance, privacy, Privacy Shield, Trump administration, European Commission, National Security Agency (NSA), Vera Jourova, Donald Trump, Europe, United States
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