This January 29, 2010 AFP file photo shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland.
effect between the United States and the European Union (EU) on the
surveillance of cross-border internet data flow.
US-EU commercial data pact, named Privacy Shield, imposes stricter
obligations on American companies to safeguard the personal data of
The US government says that based on the new
agreement, any access to private data on national security grounds will
be subject to clearer conditions and EU citizens can file a complaint
about US spying.
The Privacy Shield seeks to strengthen the protection of EU citizens whose data is moved to US servers.
Those Europeans who think their data has been misused will have the chance to file a complaint with the US State Department.
Facebook and Microsoft said they would sign up to the Privacy Shield
and would work with European data protection authorities in case of
complaints about US spying.
A similar framework, Safe Harbor, was
rejected by the EU’s top court in October because it allowed American
agents too much access to Europeans’ data.
European critics say
the new framework does not go far enough to protect Europeans’ internet
data. Privacy Shield was “little more than a little upgrade to Safe
Harbor,” said Max Schrems, the Austrian law student who successfully
challenged Safe Harbor.
EU data protection authorities had
demanded improvements to the Privacy Shield in April. The authorities
are now analyzing the arrangement and would finalize their approval by
US surveillance programs are still under fire years after
revelations by former American intelligence whistleblower Edward
Snowden about mass US spying.
In 2013, Snowden, who previously worked for the CIA and NSA, leaked
classified intelligence documents showing massive collections of phone
records of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders
around the world.
Snowden, who lives in Russia where he has been
granted asylum, has said that US government surveillance methods far
surpass those of an ‘Orwellian’ state, referring to George Orwell’s
classic novel “1984,” which describes a society where personal privacy
is continuously invaded by spy agencies.