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Patrick Breyer on the Schrems II judgement: Outlaw mass surveillance!

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MEP Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party) welcomes today’s ruling by the European Court of Justice against the transfer of personal data to the USA:

„Today’s ruling is a victory for the protection of our privacy and the confidentiality of our communications and Internet use. The US mass surveillance programmes revealed by Edward Snowden have been dismissed as disproportionate encroachments on our fundamental rights, because affected citizens from Europe have no enforceable rights. This means that there can no longer be any transfer of our data to the USA without our consent, not even on the basis of the so-called standard contractual clauses, which do not change anything about the mass surveillance programmes. It is now up to the data protection authorities to stop the transfer of our personal data to the US.

After the end of the useless ‘Privacy Shield’, the EU Commission must not again betray fundamental European values and bow to the US government and the business lobby. It is called upon to finally demand a no spy agreement with the US to outlaw mass surveillance and to ensure that people who have done nothing wrong are not permanently logged and monitored. There can be no free society where everybody is subject to permanent surveillance.”

Breyer reminds us of the sensitivity of the private data collected every day by Facebook and other internet companies:

“The online activities of individuals allow for deep insights into their personality and make it possible to manipulate them. Regardless of where the data is stored, the surveillance capitalist business model needs to be stopped. The upcoming EU Digital Services Act offers the opportunity to do so.”

Background: The European Court of Justice today stopped the transfer of personal data to the USA on the basis of the data protection agreement ‘Privacy Shield’. The ruling is the result of a legal dispute between the Austrian lawyer and data protection activist Max Schrems and the media giant Facebook. The ruling also implies that user data of EU citizens can only be transferred to the USA and other countries on the basis of so-called standard contractual clauses if the protection provisions can be complied with. Since Facebook cannot effectively prevent access by American secret services, the delivery of data to the USA must be stopped. The data protection authorities are obliged to check the effectiveness of the contractual clauses and, if necessary, to stop the transfer of data.

As early as 2015, the court had declared the predecessor agreement on data transfer to the USA — the so-called Safe Harbor Agreement — to be invalid.

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