back to article US diplomat: If EU allows 'right to be forgotten' ... it might spark TRADE WAR

US diplomat warns of "trade war" if "right to be forgotten" proposals in Europe are followed through. The introduction of planned changes to EU data protection laws could herald a trans-Atlantic "trade war", a US diplomat has warned. John Rodgers, economic Officer in the US Foreign Service, said that "things could really …


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  1. adam payne

    "We have a right to privacy in our Constitution, but this does not mean a fundamental right to data protection,"

    I'm sure it in the American Constitution but over here that means nothing. We have our laws and you have yours.

  2. RISC OS

    Fuck the states

    We should only give a shit about what america wants when america starts giving a shit about what we want... and amis can't understand why they are despised and why the world burns their flag

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fuck the states

      Yes but Amis is a cock of the highest order!

      Makes Clarkson look cultured!

  3. Jim Carter

    I think this sums it up quite nicely

    When it comes to the attitude of the US sticking their nose in where it isn't wanted:

    "Te futueo et caballum tuum".

    1. Irony Deficient

      ‘People called Americanes, they go the house’?

      Jim, I exaggerated in the title: other than the typo in the verb, it’s not a bad translation. The choice of caballus over equus was exactly right. I’d suggest the following variant for extra emphasis:

      Te futue ac istum caballum vectum!

      (This translation reflects the usual wording in these latitudes on this side of the Atlantic.)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I want ..

    .. the full details on this guy. Everything. His shopping habits, where he lives, who he is married to, if he has kids (no, those details should remain protected - that would be unfair), how much he makes and just exactly where all his assets are and who paid for them.

    If this chap really thinks that Europeans don't have the right to their own laws I would consider it only correct to let him experience this for himself in full. After all, that's basically what he is advocating, no?

  5. WatAWorld
    Big Brother

    Now you see what we put up with in Canada

    Trade war real war, the US government never fails to take a "you're with us or against us" attitude at the drop of a hat.

    Give people one more human right than they have in the USA and it is like you've broken the 10 Commandments.

    The US government is just worried that people in other countries having reasonable rights will make the USA look terrible by comparison.

    They've seen what happened with healthcare, being #31 in the world in longevity, and they don't want any other gross and total embarrassments.

    1. Irony Deficient

      the southern (and western) peril

      WatAWorld, don’t sell yourself short: the USA actually came in at #40 for life expectancy at birth in the 2010 UN World Population Prospects. That puts our youngsters at about 2½ years less on average than those of Canada, at #11. But ours are only three months behind those of Denmark, at #38. Do you think that the Danish government should also be grossly and totally embarrassed?

      Given the track record of the US government, why on Turtle Island do you think that it would be worried about looking terrible in comparison to other countries? Whom would it be trying to impress?

  6. TheVogon

    I seem to remember that America seem to have trouble starting any wars without Britsh help. I cant recall anyone in the EU needing American help!

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Isn't the whole point of the EU to ensure that we don't need help from Americans against the one country we traditionally needed it for, by having a decent framework for being on the same side as that particular country. No names mentioned, of course.

      I might have mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it...

      1. Grikath

        Historically speaking

        "Isn't the whole point of the EU to ensure that we don't need help from Americans against the one country we traditionally needed it for,"

        *Traditionally* ( within the last 300 years) that would be France kicking the bucket with their sabatons again, upsetting the rather..delicate.. balance of grudges and "remember what your Uncle charles said about our Auntie" tradition of the old elite at the time. Which incidentally also cause WW I, and in the aftermath, laid the foundation for WW II.

        The US , in sequence, was fighting its' war of independence, busy bashing each others' heads in over a little thing called "slavery" while commiting genocide on a continent-wide scale in the finest tradition of Western Civilisation, deeply offending the sensitivities of an ancient oriental nation with a *long* memory, only getting involved in WW I when it was proven the oceanic gap theory didn't work, only getting involved in WW II after said ancient oriental nation with a long memory decided to have a spot of revenge.

        Like the EU or not, it's given us a relatively quiet time considering the last couple of centuries.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Historically speaking

          You missed out annexing neighbours (Hawaii and Puerto Rico) and fostering pro-American states (Panama and Cuba)


      Talk about short memories...

      > I cant recall anyone in the EU needing American help!

      Try the French RIGHT NOW for starters...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Talk about short memories...

        needing != accepting

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Talk about short memories...

        Yes, I tried and there has been zero military help from the USA to France.

        Perhaps you are confused that the USA offered to refuel French planes (offer not accepted, or required - Germany is doing it instead - ), and that the yanks are looking for a drone base in Africa (only of benefit to the Americans - France has plenty of Drones) ?

  7. Synja

    Isn't this just the EU overstepping its authority?

    For a transaction within the EU, it's great. Every country should have laws of this nature.

    If somebody in the EU goes to a US (or any other country) website/company and does any sort of business, why would the EU have *any* jurisdiction over that transaction except for import tariffs and customs in the case of a physical product? This is the same problem I have when the US decides it's going to dictate to the rest of the world.

    If I ran a US business that had EU customers, I'd simply tell the EU to kiss my ass if they attempted to claim any sort of jurisdiction over me. Same thing I'd tell the US if the positions were reversed.

    Now, if I opened an office in Paris and started doing the same business I would gladly submit to local laws and practices.

  8. clean_state

    right to delete credit card details

    I would love to be able to tell businesses to delete my credi card details. Or even better, I would love them to be forbidden from storing them in the first place. You want my credit card ? I'll need an invoice first.

  9. Lars Silver badge

    Calm down

    All of you.

  10. sisk

    Dear US Government

    Kindly either remember who you're SUPPOSED to work for or just change the name to the Incorporated States of America and stop pretending to still be doing what you're supposed to. That way maybe we can wake up enough sheeple to get all your corrupt asses voted out of office and replaced with people who are not so easily bought.

    Icon is my first reaction to the headline, repeated a couple times as I read the article.

  11. Hans 1

    Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

    There you have Cameron threatening to leave the ship and the average Brits here, I assume you guyz are mostly Brits, are all proud of European Union's Market muscle ... So, are you guyz leaving EU to end up skull ucked by US or are you staying in EU SuperWonderland? Would it not be easier for EU to show USians the middle finger with a proper central government?

    As long as you believe your politicians, you are getting nowhere ... all across Europe, local politicians are complaining about the loss of sovereignty EU has caused, when it is in fact just "them" who are losing the said sovereignty, the EU citizens elect their European parliament members to carry their ideas and policies ... EU citizens don't lose, its the local (as in country) politicians only ...

    BTW, the decline of the US superpower has already started... USians are not aware of it yet, though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

      BTW, the decline of the US superpower has already started... USians are not aware of it yet, though.

      Some of us are....

    2. Northumbrian

      Re: Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

      Not cross because EU sovereignty being threatened. Cross because US claiming jurisdiction it doesn't have.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You seem to be forgetting...

    The UK won't get the protection as Cameron and the Conservatives won't ratify it, they are prepared to leave the EU in order not to stifle their chums with having to respect our privacy. This probably means their US chums too.

    1. Stuporhero

      Re: You seem to be forgetting...

      If this doesn't go through I'll be first to protest it.

  13. jah627

    A plea from across the pond

    As an American, I can only hope that the EU stands its ground.

    It would be nice if my President would reward Mr. Rogers with a dismissal for his idiotic and threatening statement, but the odds of that are beyond remote. My government no longer responds to its citizens -- it has been taken over by fear-mongering warthogs and corporate thieves. I have this silly, quaint idea that my data belongs to me. Imagine!

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Welcome to the New World Order Plans for Disorder with Sure Fire Recipes for Disaster

    How long does it take an ignorant population with a puppet government to realise that Western democracy is a corrupt sham and perverse scam and in a terminal state of rapid decline and capital collapse and now requires a whole plethora of distinctly fascist programs to save itself from the righteous primitive ire of the masses as they learn of the system's proposed fate for them from an increasingly better educated and informed network of spontaneous intelligence sharing.

    Are not the following two program distinctly fascist in nature ...... Hacker in chief: Obama given right to launch 'preemptive' cyberattacks and Senators ask Obama for legal basis for targeted killings of Americans ........ or do you believe you cannot believe such news and views because they are spun out on Russia Today?

    Or can you not think of the future and how you will make it be, the way that you want it to be? Do you not know the secret of how it is easily done with Critical Command and Strategic Control of IT and the Media ..... which has now moved HeadQuarters into Secured CyberSpace?

  15. Mike Moyle

    Trade war will never happen but, on the other hand...

    ... If it meant that I could stop paying hundreds every month for National Grid's (lack of) service here in the U.S., then, y'know... it might not be so bad!

    (Mine's the one with the gas bill that I've been afraid to open in the pocket -- We've had damn' few days in the past month that it ever got above freezing!)

  16. Christian Berger

    So how would a trade war work?

    Usually this works by having import taxes, making foreign products more expensive and therefore less attractive to the people in your country....

    Now, the US doesn't produce very much, but they import a lot from the EU. I work at a fairly humble 25 people company and even _we_ ship a good part of our goods to the US. (via Canada where we have an associate)

    And even worse, the US imports most of their machines used to produce stuff from the EU. So if they raise the tax on imports from the EU, their own products will become more expensive, making them less attractive.

    1. Irony Deficient

      Through the mercantile-industrial complex.

      Christian, those import taxes are typically called “retaliatory tariffs”, and (at least for WTO members) have to be approved by the WTO before they can be applied. Such tariffs are most often selectively* applied, to avoid all-out trade wars. For example, the US was approved to apply retaliatory tariffs against the EU in 1999 after ten years of an EU ban on importation of hormone-treated beef; the tariffs were selectively applied to French Roquefort cheese, Danish hams, and so on for each member state of the EU at the time, except for the UK. Similarly, in 2005 the EU, as well as Canada, Japan, and other countries, were approved to apply retaliatory tariffs against the US because of the 2000 “Byrd Amendment”, which directed countervailing duties on below-cost-of-production imports straight to domestic producers affected by those imports. The EU applied those retaliatory duties to farming equipment, textiles, paper, and so on; Canada applied them to cigarettes, live swine, oysters, &c.; Japan applied them (mainly) to steel; and on down the list.

      We actually do produce quite a bit; the thing is that we import a good deal more than we export.

      * — Often to maximize political discontent in key regions where the affected goods are produced.

  17. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Bottom line. America recognizes pesonal data is *very* valuable commodity and does

    not want filthy yoooooropeans stopping them getting their hands on as much of it as possible and hanging onto it as long as possible (ideally forever).

    It's all about the Benjamins (unless it's about Israel, when it's been all about the ben ya min's).

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Bottom line. America recognizes pesonal data is *very* valuable commodity and does

      Quite so, John Smith 19, and may the best Secret Intelligence Service and Intellectual Property Owner and Internet Service Provider win win, with that being able to deliver all three together in a SMARTR Package guaranteed to be a runaway success.

  18. Someone Else Silver badge

    John Rodgers is a self-important fat-ass

    "We have a right to privacy in our Constitution, but this does not mean a fundamental right to data protection," Rodgers said at a conference in Berlin [...]

    Boy, talk about splitting hairs that aren't really there. So a Constitutional right to privacy is being unilaterally qualified by some self-important mid-level bureaucrat to specifically exclude "data protection" (i.e. the right to the privacy of one's personal data). The possibilities for rejoinder are practically endless, but I'll open with this one: All these gun-huggers on this side of the pond are literally frothing at the mouth stating that their right to posses any form of ridiculous firearm cannot be limited in any way, shape, or size. So, Mr. Rodgers, is it your implication that certain Constitutional rights are "better" than other Constitutional rights? Can you show me in the Constitution you so smugly represent expertise in where it says that some rights granted by the constitution are absolute, and other are "soft", and where each right is falls in that table?

    Fucking wanker!

  19. asdf


    Instead of race baiting El Reg likes to engage in flag baiting. This is some peon diplomat that spouted off and can be safely ignored. We just had a change at the top of our State Department so I find it hard to believe they are looking for trade war fight right now. Yes our government sucks but so does yours (doesn't matter the country virtually). The whole idea of a former colony dictating to its former master really strikes a nerve I guess (plus that jackass W Bush didn't help anything except making the USA irrelevant quicker).

  20. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    One sentence quote and it's 100% wrong...

    One sentence quote from this fine US'ian, and the entire sentence is wrong:

    1) The Consitution doesn't explicitly list a right to privacy. That is simply a human right.

    2) Yes, it does follow that since people have a right to privacy, they have rights regarding data about themselves.

  21. Idocrase

    America is late to every war it doesn't start, screws up royally throughout, then takes all the credit at the end. Good riddance as far as I'm concerned.

    Europe doesn't need America, despite Americas beliefs to the contrary.

    We don't need iPhones, Samsung make better phones. We don't NEED Microsoft, linux isn't hard to use. NO-ONE likes American cars except Richard Hammond and we can always dump him in the middle of Africa or somewhere when we need to. American inventions were actually invented by people from Europe, who usually got ripped off by that twat Edison (The Steve Jobs of his age). American attitudes to medicine are Victorian at best, businesses corrupt and aimed at making rich people richer and the poor into some kind of indentured servants, and we should really just deport every lawyer before the borders close, because we are fed up with American style litigation in our courts.

    The entirety of the USA could sink into the sea, and the only major complaint would be regarding the tidal wave of McDonalds wrappers and old AOL CD's left floating around.

    Europe in general, and the UK especially, has a brilliant film tradition, which might finally be able to truly flourish without the milky, watered down hollywood pap forcefed to cinema goers that spews from the sphincters of idiots like micheal bay.

    Oh and a few TV shows would vanish, but lets face it, there's never been a decent TV show from the US that hasn't been cancelled with a shitty ending, so who cares?

  22. dervheid


    the general consensus;

    "Fuck you USA"

    The US scumvernment needs to realise that it is NOT in charge globally.

  23. Pete 8

    But it will work when

    ...the 'consenting' end user has full control over the encryption, then they can delete such trails or have it 'forgotten' at will.

    Kind restores some of the consent balance, where balance is overdue.

    Easy Piezy new competitive greener fields in which gruff goats graze and gaze.

    Dont you just L.O.V.E. IT, The Future!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They wouldn't be spying if the banksters were arrested. All the spying is against the angry people they steal from. Spying itself is stealing.. Think about it for all the NSA spying, how many banksters were arrested. zero, so fighting terrorism isn't their goal.

    Now that they have stolen, they are attempting to disarm americans so they can't fight back, through the meat grinder is where americans are headed, that's their goal.

  25. Shannon Jacobs

    Doesn't go far enough

    The "right to be forgotten" is a step in the right direction, but it doesn't go far enough. Remember that "possession is nine points of the law", and that is why we need to possess our own personal data if privacy is to have any meaning. That wasn't a problem 50 years ago, when it was impossible to store that much data, but these days we really could know everything about any person.

    In case the threat isn't obvious, let me note that it isn't just your weaknesses and mistakes that can be used against you. Even your tastes and interests can be used to manipulate and even control you. Freedom is about meaningful and unconstrained choice, NOT beer.

    The default case should be for our personal data to be stored on our OWN equipment. If a company is involved, then they can sign it to prevent tampering, but when they want to access OUR personal data, they should say why, and we should have a right to say yea or nay. That request to use our personal data could probably be handled automatically in most cases by our personal privacy preferences, but when in doubt, the request should be escalated. After the data has been used, then of course it should be deleted.

    I think we have three choices now. One will be a total lack of privacy for anyone, which will be an interesting world, to say the least... The second will be strong privacy protections for everyone. Unfortunately, we seem to be following a third path, where rich people and big corporations want total access to our private data while concealing their own, and that can only lead to abuse and tyranny and less freedom.

  26. Local G

    Our never ending recovery

    can't be put at risk by a trade war. We love money too much.

    Roger's threat is just a chip in the negotiation of the "right to be forgotten" agreement. Maybe the date for 'forgetting' the data will be pushed back. Something.

    The US will be in no trade wars any time soon. Bernanke will never permit it.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Thank goodness you wise, solemn Europeans are here to take the moral high road and show the United States that jingoistic saber-rattling, irrational nationalism, and wildly unfounded prejudice against foreigners are unacceptable.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This isn't about Google, this is about shadow orgs like "Fair Isaac" which never ever delete any information about anyone, including Europeans (unless, of course, Brussels gets a clue and can reach across the pond and wring a few scrawny greedy overpaid necks).

    Then there are the big 3 reporting agencies who want a bigger toehold on the continent. They are constantly trying to find new ways to sell their credit reportage, first it was for loans, then as an indicator whether you are employable, next you'll see "pre-crime".... and being Americans, of course they pay off some Washington political flunkies to try to squash the money train in Europe (never pry the politicians out their cold dead hands in America, Americans are hopelessly ensnared in the vile tentacles of... well, you get my drift).

    Google is a docile pussycat by comparison, Brussels tweedies only going after the weak and those lacking in political grease....

  29. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Be careful what you wish for .... you just might get it when a few can do anything they like to do

    I want .... the full details on this guy. Everything. His shopping habits, where he lives, who he is married to, if he has kids (no, those details should remain protected - that would be unfair), how much he makes and just exactly where all his assets are and who paid for them.

    If this chap really thinks that Europeans don't have the right to their own laws I would consider it only correct to let him experience this for himself in full. After all, that's basically what he is advocating, no? ….. Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 5th February 2013 13:10 GMT

    That is a sort of mini, and therefore effectively not a very effective, Total Information Awareness program, which one might expect a less than competently led intelligence agency group [MI5/MI6/GCHQ] to supply to governments and civil and military services, AC, for their own attempts at a virtual remote physical control of ringed/ring fenced leaders and their followers/voters/backers/string pullers, rather than it and IT being a pioneering advanced intelligence expeditionary force providing all possible and probably future likely details, both fair and unfair, on governments and civil and military services leading personnel to an intelligence agency group [MI5/MI6/GCHQ] for their own attempts at a virtual remote physical control of ringed/ring fenced leaders and their followers/voters/backers/string pullers.

    Depending on how competent intelligence agency groups are being led, in order to provide prime independent novel lead rather than being as a puppet proxy that just executes anonymised third party orders issued to puppet proxy governments and their civil and military services, is that which more accurately determines whether just nations be great or plainly mediocre and in need of assistance and future intelligence feed seeding with …… well, ideally, and very easily in Great IntelAIgent Games in Realising Command and Remote Virtualised Control of Computers and Communications in Creative CyberSpace, Immaculate Sees and Definite Vision.

    How well do you imagine UKGBNI Intelligence Service providers are faring in the supply of a pioneering advanced intelligence expeditionary force servering a TIA programming project for New World Orders in a New Orderly World ARG ……. for New Life and a New Life and Lives in Love with Live Operational Virtual Environments in AI Control of Power and CHAOS in a Great IntelAIgent Game …….. Titanic Epic of Colossal Virtual Machine Programming? Or do you think, should you ever think on it, that Palace Barracks do nothing of major import and invisible export to generate future streams of revenue and industry, peace and prosperity, calm and contentment.

    cc Holywood and Hollywood, Cheltenham and Holyrood, the City and Westminster re getting your acts together for future control of reality via virtual means and alienating memes, or is that and IT to be solely a Private Pirate ProgramMING Operation with Mega Rogue and Renegade Partners? Be assured it matters not a jot to that and those exercising Master Pilot Controls.

    CodeXSSXXXX BetaTest of IntelAIgent Service Provision #1302050616

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Being careful what you wish for .... you just might get it when etc etc.

      And yes, you are not wrong, that is a direct challenging opportunity and cordial invitation to global intelligence agencies who would deem themselves worthy of being considered, in these new ages and spaces of shared intelligence co-operation, intelligent enough to demonstrate mutually beneficial lead in a failing state of anarchic affairs.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Being careful what you wish for .... you just might get it when etc etc.

        And a live HyperRadioProActive test of their current spooky snooping and informative intelligence analysis abilities/metadatabase facilities.

  30. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Bravo, El Reg ...... in Opening Up the Cans of Worms, Trojans and Moles

    Regarding ….

    Yes, the right to be forgotten is a fight of the people against the snoopers that work for our own governments.

    The biggest threat to us is not some company using browsing habits to sell us chewing gum.

    The biggest threat to us is our own intelligence and law enforcement community shutting down political opinion by using emails and browsing habits to black mail elected and amateur politicians and commenters. …. WataWorld Posted Tuesday 5th February 2013 13:38 GMT

    > The biggest threat to us is not some company using browsing habits to sell us chewing gum.

    No. That is the real threat. Who do you think the government uses to get it's information from? Most likely, it gets both tech and the actual information from some outside data aggregator that collects all of this cruft and slices and dices it for easy sale and consumption (to corps or government). …. JEDIDIAH Posted Tuesday 5th February 2013 17:27 GMT


    That is sensitive compartmented information to be probably refused plausible deniability and Establishment comment upon for it is so easily proven to be perfectly true and their modus operandi/vivendi. Thanks for sharing it with everyone so that all may know more about how they are servered with that which is provided daily to be believed as being true and a mega media mogul hosted reality.

    Capiche, El Reg[ers]?

  31. Northumbrian

    US Constitution

    "It's not in the US Constitution" - and that matters, why?

    Last I heard the US Constitution does not bind the citizens of the EU. Should someone tell the Yanks.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We the Corporations of the United States..."

    Doesn't that sound more contemporary?


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