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September 29, 2015

US government says European judges wrong on data sharing

Google, Facebook, Yahoo are some of the companies that enjoy Safe Harbor Framework on data transfer.

By CBR Staff Writer

Washington has urged European judges to reach a different conclusion after a bench ofEuropean Court of Justice gave an opinion that the data sharing practice between European Union countries and US are ‘invalid’.

As per the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework, US companies can transfer personal data outside the European Union in a way that is consistent with the EU Data Protection Directive.

EU gave the opinion following a lawsuit by Austrian privacy activist who accused Facebook of passing private data to US as part of the PRISM programme, which was exposed by former CIA employee Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden revealed that Prism provided US officials with ways to keep an eye on data held by US tech firms about Europeans and other foreign citizens.

The US mission said it was concerned about damage that the decision that the decision would do to trade and privacy in Europe and the United States and so urged the Court of Justice to reach different conclusion.

The US mission said: "The United States does not and has not engaged in indiscriminate surveillance of anyone, including ordinary European citizens.

"The PRISM programme that the Advocate General’s opinion discusses is in fact targeted against particular valid foreign intelligence targets, is duly authorised by law, and strictly complies with a number of publicly disclosed controls and limitations.

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"We hope that the final judgment of the European Court of Justice takes note of these efforts, inaccuracies in and far-reaching consequences of the Advocate General’s opinion, as well as the significant harm to the protection of individual rights and the free flow of information that would occur if it were to follow the Advocate General’s opinion."

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