back to article US kills EU watchdog's probe into EU cops sharing EU citizens' data

The US has blocked Europe's official ombudsman from accessing Europol documents regarding surveillance and terrorist financing – forcing the watchdog to end a probe into America's relationship with the Euro cops. Europol is the European Union’s law enforcement agency, and the ombudsman investigates complaints of …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good Poodle!

    Now stay quiet in that little question of Microsoft data to be exfiled from Ireland.

    Also, if you continue to follow our lead on Ukraine, there will be a nice doggie treat for you at the end. Or not.

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Good Poodle!

      In the case of the Ukraine, that country was invaded as punishment for its people overthrowing a dictator. News stories of his killing of demonstrators and of his private zoo are on the public record. So what's this about the U.S. trying to lead Europe in a wrong direction on that issue?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good Poodle!

        In the case of the Ukraine, that country was invaded as punishment for its people overthrowing a dictator.

        As someone who has run a similar protest in Eastern Europe 15+ years ago and has stood my ground facing the government security forces I can tell you the following:

        1. We (Eu + US) actively sponsored the overthrowing. It was not overthrown by people, it was an external intervention. Running a protest like the Maidan taks 10s if not 100s of thousands of dollars per day. The posters and plackards of the protesters were printed (probably abroad too) and that was bleeding obvious.

        2. The current cleptocracy is no different from the previous cleptorcracy or the one before that. Pervasive corruption up to the top, murdering opponents, you name it. The sole fact that people who authorized (and got away with it) cutting journalist heads are now being used to negotiate "peace" says everything there is to be said about this conflict.

        3. The first law voted by the current _UNELECTED_ at that time cleptocracy was to revoke all minority rights - to use their language, to teach their language in schools, etc. This is why the revolt started.

        4. The fact that Putin has played this all to advance his agenda is another matter. This does not change the fact that we (US, UK and rest of Eu) have sponsored a coup in a neighbouring country and we have helped install a government whose agenda is in direct violation of what we perceive as human rights in the first place.

        As far as US leading Eu, the reason for the US lead became clear this week - US has started exporting oil and gas. First permits have been granted. From there on the reasons for the US policy of fostering civil war across North Africa and the Russian periphery has become 100% clear. I agree with the GP - there is no f*** reasons for us to go along with that.

      2. scrubber
        Stop

        Re: Good Poodle!

        The Ukrainians actually overthrew their democratically elected government, but why let facts get in the way of a good story?

        1. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: Good Poodle!

          "The Ukrainians actually overthrew their democratically elected government"

          Yes they did, because their government had promised closer ties to EU, which was supported by a majority in the country, and then went back on that promise at the last minute because Putin promised a better gas deal for Ukraine (no doubt accompanied by truckloads of cash for the ruling elite - have you seen the pictures of the President's palace??)

          If only we 'westerners' had the guts to actually do something about it when our elected representatives renege on their promises and steamroller over all our desires in order to enrich themselves

      3. DrBobMatthews

        Re: Good Poodle!

        Total arrogant nonsense so typical of the warmongering USA. The legitimate government of a sovereign state (Ukraine) was deliberately destabilised by the illegal efforts of one Ms Nulland of the US State department who funded $5Billion to known terrorist thugs to shoot Ukraine policemen. The real reasons where 1) To threaten and annoy Russia. 2) To use the Ukraine as a launch pad for US weaponry all targeting Russia 3) To give free reign to Monsanto Chemicals to use Ukraine soil to experiment with their products on crops which elsewhere are banned.

        You can if you are capable of joined up thought see the link between the US closing bases in the UK and Europe to save $500 million a year to the US spending just over 10 years savings on Ukraine not counting the cost to date to other counties who's economies have suffered due to the US bullying Europe to put sanctions on Russia. None of these sanctions affect the USA, its just another way that the US uses bullying tactics against legitimate business competition. When is the US going to repatriate Germany's gold reserves? or do they no longer exist as the US government have blown them on warmongering. When is the us going to return the 90 tonnes of Ukraine gold which they "lifted" in March 2014 and flew to New York.

        You seem to be nothing more than a crawling sycophant for the USA and a bloody thick one at that.

        1. Tom Maddox Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Good Poodle!

          [citation needed] And how.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Consistency

    Our side of the agreement is fully consistent with oversight as practiced on this side of the Atlantic. None. So why should it be any different on your's?

    1. Mike Shepherd

      Re: Consistency

      I'm confused as to what you mean by "this side of the Atlantic". Since you write "practised" as "practiced", you're on the US side? What are you trying to say?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Our inquiry has now been closed. We have been unable to exercise our democratic powers.”

    Some text missing there, surely?

    What happen to "and we're fucking fuming that the parties involved are treating the EU and its citizens with such contempt"?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: “Our inquiry has now been closed. We have been unable to exercise our democratic powers.”

      Yeah, since when die the EU become a state of the USA and fall under their jurisdiction?

      The sheer arrogance of the USA is growing with each new story - and by that I mean the administration, not necessarily the citizens themselves, many of them are level headed, in my experience.

      1. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

        Re: “Our inquiry has now been closed. We have been unable to exercise our democratic powers.”

        think this is a story about craven deference to the USA. of course europlod might be quite happy going along with the yanks in order to cover up their own misdeeds or just because they like being good old boys promoting totalitarianism together.

        any way up, it stinks.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: “Our inquiry has now been closed. We have been unable to exercise our democratic powers.”

          Hey, if they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear. I mean that's what they've been telling us for the last five years, right?

          Right?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “Our inquiry has now been closed. We have been unable to exercise our democratic powers.”

      Well, actually it's a european body (Europol) denying access to a european body (the ombudsman) on the order of a non european nation (The US of A).

      It would be a bit like the Met Police refusing to answer questions from a parliamentary investigation committee because Kim Jong Un told them not to... :-)

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: “Our inquiry has now been closed. We have been unable to exercise our democratic powers.”

        "Well, actually it's a european body (Europol) denying access to a european body (the ombudsman) "

        No that's not correct, read the article properly. Europol and the US have a joint agreement for data transfer, which has a common oversight board*. It's the oversight board that produces the requested report, and it's this board that have not allowed Europol to pass on the document to the ombudsman.

        Of course, it just shows a huge lack of balls on part of Europol to not *accidentally* leak the report. If the situation was reversed, that's what the 'merkins would have done

        * Since boards generally have odd numbers, I would not at all be surprised if the US party had a majority on this board

  4. Ian Michael Gumby

    No point in kicking a dead dog.

    If you've been under a rock, the latest incident in France will allow the spook agencies to continue to mine private data and share it with the other international agencies.

    And considering the alternatives... its not a bad thing unless you're a terrorist.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

      "If you've been under a rock, the latest incident in France will allow the spook agencies to continue to mine private data and share it with the other international agencies."

      Irrelevant. The IRA managed to plan and carry out such atrocities and worse for years without the use of the net or mobiles. And not much assistance was given by the US governments it looking at the financial support given by Irish Americans. The US needs to stop being all take and no give.

      "And considering the alternatives... its not a bad thing unless you're a terrorist."

      If we're to occupy the high moral ground in relation to terrorism we've first of all got to get there.

      1. David Dawson

        Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

        If we're to occupy the high moral ground in relation to terrorism we've first of all got to get there.

        --

        beautifully put.

      2. Ian Michael Gumby

        Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

        You bring up the IRA.

        Do you realize what the Brits had done to try and combat the IRA?

        There wasn't the level or ease of electronic surveillance back then as there is today.

        Many of their actions won't be made public for another couple of decades still. (Or do you disagree with the Official Secrets Act too? )

        Even 20 years ago, with the introduction of digital switches, the ease of which a warranted wire tap could be done that there was a change in the types and amount of surveillance that can occur.

        My post was incredibly voted down by individuals who either don't understand the reality of the world we live in, or haven't thought through the consequences of the acts of Manning and Snowden.

        When we talk about freedoms, the act of surveillance isn't the issue. Its how its used that becomes the issue.

        I personally hate using google because of they spy on you. Same with FB. I choose not to be their product. Yet. just by using the 'net, I can't stop FB or Google from capturing data. IMHO they do more spying and data capture and retention that the government could and they are not restricted by law as to how they can use the data. So many protested the existence of PRISM, yet while the Government was bound by law and had to limit its use, the same protesters freely give more information to FB which had a greater potential to be misused. Talk about the 'God view' of Uber. Talk about a potential for being able to blackmail someone over midnight visits...

        The point is that unless you've spend a bit of time thinking about the issue and the alternatives... you haven't a clue about why we need this surveillance.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

          "Do you realize what the Brits had done to try and combat the IRA?"

          Fostered a national culture of fear, paranoia and universal surveillance that is culminating in public cries by powerful politicians to scrap human rights legislation as it is inconvenient and gets int eh way of treating everyone as "guilty unless proven innocent"?

          That's not something to be proud of, you git.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

      Sorry, but giving up your freedom for security is not an option - in fact a US President originally said that, but I guess he'd be sitting in Gitmo today for an anti-American attitude.

      As has been said, the USA was happy to turn a blind eye on the US citizens' financing of terrorism in Europe, but if there is a possibility that a terrorist might make it onto American soil, well, that is a different matter entirely.

      1. WonkoTheSane
        Headmaster

        Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

        "Sorry, but giving up your freedom for security is not an option - in fact a US President originally said that, but I guess he'd be sitting in Gitmo today for an anti-American attitude."

        Ben Franklin was never El Presidente.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

          Sorry, you are correct Wonko, Founding Father of the USA, but not president.

          Or, from Avanti with Jack Lemon:

          J.J. Blodgett: "Franklin? Oh, oh yes, Ben Franklin... Well, good man for his time. Of course, today, I'm not sure he could pass the security check. "

      2. Ian Michael Gumby

        Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

        Really? What US President made that remark.

        (I'm calling BS on your statement. )

        The irony is that many don't understand the amount and types of surveillance that occurs in all Western countries. CCTV cameras anyone?

        Again, its not the capture of the information which represents a threat to one's freedom, but the use of it.

        I had a friend who knew over 100 people who were killed on 9/11. Including one of her ex-boyfriends which she was still friends with. She was a lawyer.

        If you had asked her about the use of mass surveillance which could have prevented 9/11 versus losing her friends, which do you think she would choose?

        I'll give you another example. Suppose through a warrant-less wiretap, the government heard you admit to a friend that you were out the other night and did a line of coke. The loss of freedom only occurs if the police were to arrest you and use this as evidence in court. Or if the information was made public.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

          @Gumby As pointed out by Wonko, I was quoting the Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, who indeed was not president. If you look later in the thread, you will see that I acknowledged his correction.

          His original quote was:

          "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

          As to your downvotes, I think that has to do with the Franklin quote here. I think most people do have a problem with the surveilance. The first part of your post wouldn't have received a downvote from me, but that last paragraph is a definite downvoter.

          I also lost some friends in 9/11 attack and I was lucky that my cousin's husband had his business meeting cancelled at the last minute and he wasn't there that day.

          On that evening I was staying on the 43rd floor of the Marriott in Frankfurt, which is on the path to the airport. Most guests checked out, but the Brits stayed there and said, "we aren't going to let those b'stards dictate our lives!"

          Maybe it was part of living under the threat of IRA terrorism as a child that brought on that attitude, but that is how we felt. And that is how I feel today, I know there are people out there that would like to harm our way of life, and if we give in with extra surveillance and robbing us of our freedoms, then they have won! That is the whole point, if they kill us, they have one, if they make us so scared that we change the way we live - or allow our authorities to change the way we live, they have won!

    3. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

      Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

      the alternative is that the govt stops shitting itself every time there's a terrorist incident. go after the Muslim shitheads as per a normal criminal investigation, rather than have soldiers parading round the eifel tower.

      in addition, these incidents prove that dragnet surveillance doesn't work.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

        And here's the crux of the matter.

        Go after the 'shitheads'. Not that I disagree with you, but those 'shitheads' have rights too.

        So how do you collect enough information on those specific 'shitheads' to charge them? How do you know that the guy down the street is a 'shithead' ?

        And that's the problem. J'accuse! And you're back to the lawlessness of the French Revolution, or in Iraq or Afghanistan where unscrupulous people claimed their adversaries were Al Qaeda

        Here's the hypocrisy. You say you're against the massive surveillance that I am in favor of, yet at the same time you want a police investigation of the 'shitheads' which requires said surveillance.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

          @Gumby

          This targeted surveillance is what the spy agencies have done for decades, if not centuries, without resorting to mass surveillance. Good there is more communication and it is easier to put dispersed groups together. But you still need to find a starting point and monitoring the whole population "just in case," isn't a solution.

          The USA and the West in gerneral derided the Staatssicherheit run state (Stasi) of the Democratic German Republic (East Germany), yet they seem to be trying to accomplish exactly what the Stasi were trying to do, but on a much grander scale.

          That is my problem. I have friends who lived in East Germany and some who lost their jobs, just because they happened to say something inapropriate - not "let's overthrow the government," but more along the lines of, "there wasn't much bread in the shops again this morning."

          Is that really a ground to be dismissed as a teacher?

          And is that going to be any different in America in the near future, if this mass surveilance continues and increases? There are enough terrorist movements (Patriots) in the USA, how long until they start being rounded up, because they privately discuss what a mess the government is and how it would be better if they were unseated?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

      These were known activists with a proven criminal record. I don't think most peope have an issue with targeted monitoring, but people do have an issues with mass surveillance.

      BTW, more people are killed by alcohol related violence in Europe than by terrorist...

    5. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

      So two brothers organising a shooting - by talking to each other - means a complete overhaul of human rights?

    6. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: No point in kicking a dead dog.

      So you're okay with everyone being a terrorist unless proven otherwise?

      Should we also weigh people against ducks?

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It seems an odd way to end the investigation. The Ombudsman has been unable to perform its statutory duty therefore the agreement is failing to meet its statutory obligations and should, therefore, be considered illegal and either closed down forthwith or suspended until the Ombudsman is able to give it a clean bill of health.

    The EU needs to play hard-ball on these matters. All these arrangements, including Safe Harbour, should be ended until such time as the US is prepared to prove its bona fides.

    1. Christoph

      They refuse to show that the agreement is being adhered to - cancel the agreement. End of problem. End of discussion.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Exactly Doc.

  6. Neoc

    "...However despite her watchdog role, she too was denied access to documents – specifically an official report examining whether requests from the US are “proportionate and necessary.”"

    If an agency block access to a report which details whether they are playing by the rule, it is valid to assume that they are not.

    After all "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear", right?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      So the US keeps telling us, so they should have absolutely no objections to the report being seen, either that or, by their own definition, they are admitting that they are acting illegally...

  7. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    whether requests from the US are “proportionate and necessary.”

    The US should *demonstrate* that their requests are "proportionate and necessary" not simply say "We say they are so Ner! And if you don't like it, we'll pick up our marbles and go home... so double Ner!"

  8. veti Silver badge
    Boffin

    What I assume is happening here is this:

    The US isn't "playing by the rules", if by "the rules" you mean "the rules that were published when the agreement was put in place".

    The EU secretariat knows this. It knew it before the agreement was ever signed. The US was never seriously supposed to play by those rules, they're only there to satisfy some local agitators on the Rightpondian side, but really Everyone Who Matters in Europe is quite glad of the added security they get from US spooks.

    There are a handful of agitators in Europe who don't agree with this consensus. Some of them are genuinely idealistic, others are probably just interested in preparing the ground for their own political careers in their own respective countries. They occasionally make public noises like this.

    Business will continue as usual for the foreseeable future. There is no plausible way in which the dissidents could break the governing consensus, and there's no even remotely conceivable way this could become an election issue in any European country, let alone all of them, so the political threat here is nil. The political opportunity, on the other hand...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @veti

      "but really Everyone Who Matters in Europe is quite glad of the added security they get from US spooks"

      Which added security would that be?

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: @veti

        You think if the CIA comes across evidence that someone is plotting a coup d'etat in, say, Spain, they wouldn't communicate that, PDQ, to the Spanish government?

        That security.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: @veti

          "You think if the CIA comes across evidence that someone is plotting a coup d'etat in, say, Spain, they wouldn't communicate that, PDQ, to the Spanish government?"

          No, they wouldn't. The Americans have been spectacularly unable to stop people from committing horrific crimes on their own soil, even when the Russians flat out told them shit was going to go down. How in the metric monkey fuck do you think those thundering chowderheads are going to A) know something is going on in a part of they world they barely acknowledge exists and B) manage to communicate that using some form of language that will be understood by people who have advanced beyond smearing crushed up flowers on cave walls?

          Americans don't care about their own people. What makes you think that for a second they care about anyone else?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The "Real" Reason is......

    that the Europol investigations concern international money laundering (for terrorists) through a bank with British Blueblood concerns and the "leaker(s)" who can't be trusted is the ombudsman or in their offices.

    1. Roo
      Windows

      Re: The "Real" Reason is......

      That could well be true, but I don't see much of a reason for the plods to actually help cover that up, unless they are corrupt themselves of course... Nothing to hide, nothing to fear and all that. ;)

      In essence it seems far more likely that the plods are simply refusing to play ball because they know they've been breaking the law/rules.

  10. Eddy Ito

    "forcing the watchdog to end a probe into America's relationship with the Euro cops."

    Perhaps someone should start a probe investigating ending America's relationship with the Euro cops. I know it would rock the world of the super-arrogant pols on my (the US) side of the pond.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    So a European ombudsman can't investigate European cops because of the U.S.?

    You know, there are lots of times when Europeans complain about the U.S. without sufficient justification.

    This isn't one of those times.

  12. big_D Silver badge

    WTF?

    Sorry, the US says that an EU ombudsman can't investigate an EU body?

    With this and the current debacle of cutting corners in the Microsoft Email case, it seems the US is getting too big for its boots!

    1. Swarthy
      WTF?

      Re: WTF?

      Getting?

  13. Tringle

    There is an old saying that has always been and probably always will be, true:

    "With friends like Americans you have no need of enemies"

  14. Bloodbeastterror

    "Where does an 800-pound gorilla sleep?"

    "Anywhere he f***ing likes."

    That's the US.

  15. heyrick Silver badge

    forcing the watchdog to end a probe into America's relationship with the Euro cops

    Forcing? The only thing that should be forced is all such relationships should now be automatically annulled until such time as they can be demonstrated to be correct and legitimate.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Repeat after me.

    Hey, You-Rope, y'all go an fuck yourselves now, d'ya hear!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone said. Can't check them, dissolve the aggreement and problem solved. And do that for each and every aggreement that can't be checked.

  18. scrubber
    Black Helicopters

    Democratic oversight?

    So, a supra-state unelected body (A) cannot perform oversight on a supra-state unelected body (B) because an unelected body (C) with limited oversight within a different state denies them access to B's internal documents.

    Who do we vote for to change this situation? Oh...

  19. Tromos

    Europol not answerable to Europe?

    Disband them and put in a replacement who is.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do you teach your kids not to give in to ugly fat bullies at school, if a whole fucking continent can get bullied by the US, time and time again? The more you let them get away with, the more they will take...

    I would have expected the article to close with a statement as to which steps the ombuds(wo)man will take now, or how Euope is going to deal with this bullying nonsense. Instead, they just leave it at that? Appalling!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How do we know that that process has not already begun?

      They certainly would not be advertising it.

  21. WalterAlter

    Let's get one ding dong thing straight

    It ain't the Yanks, it's the BANKS.

    And what do the bankers do with all that money we trust them to keep out of the hands of pick pockets and thieves? C'mon, this ain't esoteric mathematics. Yep, that's right, they "invest" our money. And what might we expect them to do to protect their investments and not lose our bits of psychologically motivated paper, or even better to recover bits of said paper lost due to gambling and short term stupidity? Right again, anything including selling their mothers to the glue and soap works. Show me a bank executive who has not graduated from the Reinhard Heydrich School of Economics, and I'll send you an autographed photo of Mother Theresa's cha chas.

    Yah, that's right, the bastards own everything, including governments, media and academia at all the critical power junctures. Smarter, faster, kidz.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People don't like this, but...

    the niceties of what is legal currently don't hold sway in the world of information, as the NSA tirelessly demonstrates. 'Most every EU and US state has regularly been grabbing illegal things like CDs of Swiss bank accounts. It is their revealings which have been selective.

    The lady shouldn't give up so soon. I expect Mr Snowden has a copy. If she feels she must stay on moral high ground, which is admirable, and will make her a useful partner when we get round to the discussion of ending the wild west of information, then her team, or this announcement, could encourage a newspaper to spring the leak.

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