[A2k] European Parliament Fails to React Strongly to US and EU Surveillance Programmes

La Quadrature du Net contact at laquadrature.net
Wed Mar 12 07:48:19 PDT 2014


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Permanent link: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/european-parliament-fails-to-react-strongly-to-us-and-eu-surveillance-programmes

European Parliament Fails to React Strongly to US and EU Surveillance Programmes

*** Paris, 12 March 2014 — Today, the European Parliament passed a resolution [1] condemning the US and EU surveillance programmes [2]. La Quadrature du Net welcomes this resolution, but greatly regrets that it fails to call for strong political measures to defend and protect their own citizens' fundamental rights. Ahead of European elections [3], citizens must now ensure that privacy will become a major concern of the next legislative period. ***

This resolution results from Claude Moraes' (S&D – UK) report, voted in February 2014 by the “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) committee, in response to revelations by Edward Snowden of the massive surveillance programme established by the United States with the willing support of several European Union member states. By adopting this report, the European Parliament reaffirms some self-evident truths, such as that citizens' right were violated and the fact that journalists, lawyers, and doctors are targeted, makes the situation even worse. It also calls for essential, though obvious, actions, such as the end to illegal mass surveillance programmes.

The timid warning in the report that the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement [4] “could be endangered” by mass surveillance activities is encouraging but, once again, far too weak. This is especially regretable given that a recently leaked document [5] demonstrated that other civil society concerns were justified [6].

This timidity is all the more deplorable because positive amendments [7] were tabled in both LIBE and in plenary sitting. These called on a comprehensive reform of the intelligence services, for a support to whistleblowers generally and to Edward Snowden in particular, and for a stop to massive and indiscriminate surveillance. Unfortunately, too few of them were retained in the final text adopted today. Moreover, this resolution fails to demand the suspension of the “Safe Harbor” [8] agreement, which would have represented a concrete and significant measure to help halt mass surveillance and renegotiate the relationship between the EU and the US on this topic. Thus, despite some minor advances, the European Parliament's resolution adopted today is too timid a political signal to contribute effectively to the defense and protection of the fundamental rights of European citizens. 
After the elections, the next Parliament will have to go much further to introduce strong measures that protect fundamental rights.

“Today's vote demonstrates that the Members of the European Parliament failed to understand the amplitude of the damaging effects of mass surveillance on the contemporary world. By refusing to adopt concrete and effective measures, they missed the opportunity to affirm their opposition to the massive violation of fundamental rights of European citizens. Ahead of European elections, La Quadrature du Net calls on citizens to ensure that privacy becomes a major concern of the next Parliament, to demand strong and meaningful actions, such as the suspension of the 'Safe harbor' agreement and an industrial policy that promotes free software!” concluded Benjamin Sonntag, cofounder of the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.

* References *

1. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A7-2014-0139+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

2. https://nsa-observer.laquadrature.net/

3. http://wepromise.eu/

4. https://www.laquadrature.net/en/tafta

5. https://www.laquadrature.net/files/TAFTA_leak_ZEIT_20140227.pdf

6. The leaked confidential European Commission's draft proposal on trade in services, investment and e-commerce published by Zeit Online shows that secret negotiations on TAFTA include controversial provisions on so called “intellectual property rights”, the liability of intermediary service providers, and on the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS): http://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2014-02/freihandelsabkommen-eu-sonderrechte-konzerne

7. For example, amendments 29, 30, 31 or 32.

8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Safe_Harbor_Privacy_Principles

** About La Quadrature du Net **

La Quadrature du Net is an advocacy group that defends the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet. More specifically, it advocates for the adaptation of French and European legislations to respect the founding principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge. 

In addition to its advocacy work, the group also aims to foster a better understanding of legislative processes among citizens. Through specific and pertinent information and tools, La Quadrature du Net hopes to encourage citizens' participation in the public debate on rights and freedoms in the digital age.

La Quadrature du Net is supported by French, European and international NGOs including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Open Society Institute and Privacy International.

List of supporting organisations: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/they-support-la-quadrature-du-net

** Press contact and press room **

contact at laquadrature.net, +33 (0) 972 294 426


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