back to article Chat about Safe Harbour all you like, the NSA's still the stumbling block

The EU’s Justice Commissioner met her US counterparts last week in an effort to break the stalemate over data protection rights. Věra Jourová and US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker met to discuss the revision of the so-called Safe Harbour agreement, a legally enforceable but voluntary code of conduct for US businesses that …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just ban Facebook.

    Problem solved.

    The offshoot would be that millions of hours are suddenly gained in Industry.

    do the same for Twitter etc and suddenly the UK's productivity is not behind the Frogs.

    {just leave access to this site alone ok}

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just ban Facebook.

      You missed the "joke" icon.

      1. Khaptain

        Re: Just ban Facebook.

        Why was the Joke Icon necessary, the comment actually seems quite valid.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just ban Facebook.

          "Why was the Joke Icon necessary, the comment actually seems quite valid."

          Oh really? So, who is going to ban it? The government? You like the idea of a censored web wherein the facilities you want to use may or may not be banned by an unaccountable power? Heaven forfend it removes something you might want to use like say, Encryption or IRC.

          No, the commentard just wants to ban things that other people like that he doesn't, which is surely a joke because no one is that stupid, surely?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just ban Facebook.

            The commentard probably assumed that any sentient being would have enough of a sense of humour to detect that it was a joke, without needing a big "joke" icon to flag it up. Apparently they were wrong.

            1. Paul Kinsler Silver badge

              Re: The commentard probably assumed ...

              You can't use the icons when anonymous (IME).

          2. fruitoftheloon
            FAIL

            To the d'oh AC: Re: Just ban Facebook.

            Ac,

            I am typing this r e a l l y s l o w l y f o r y o u.

            Re the 'ban it' bit, it could just be banned by the folk that are paying other folk, to do you know...

            WORK.

            I.e. if you want use faecesbook on your own time, that is just fine, you do not have an automatic right to use an employers pc, leccy and interwebs...!

            Have a nice day!

            Regards,

            Jay

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: To the d'oh AC: Just ban Facebook.

              I will reply R E A L LY S L O W L Y too then.

              The original commentard suggested that Facebook et. al. be banned nationally. How do I know that? he said "The UK would gain massive productivity", not "companies would gain". Also, the article talks about EU wide legislation, not an individual company.

              I have no issue with an employer suspending access to twitter and facebook, only an issue with the idea that they should be banned wholesale because some people don't like them (for "people" see "Techie Hipster"). Personally, I'd like to see sport banned from television, especially as Virgin have just handed me the good news that my bill has risen so I can watch more of something called "cricket". The amount of hours of lost productivity with people talking about how much harder their team has sported than the other team must be near equal to those lost on FB.

              You have a nice day too.

              Regards,

              Me.

        2. Sebby

          Re: Just ban Facebook.

          >>> Why was the Joke Icon necessary, the comment actually seems quite valid.

          “{just leave access to this site alone ok}”

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NSA is the problem

    My company mandates that we don't take confidential information to the US.. as they have decided to get a duplicate of several laptops HDDs... and force the employees to reveal the passwords "or else".

    Of course, this is "old industrial espionage", just for the benefic of US defence companies.. but we have to endure this.

    If they do this openly, just imagine what they do with your US hosted data.

    Anon, as I would like to enter the US without problems.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: NSA is the problem

      >My company mandates that we don't take confidential information to the US

      This is the only way to keep data safe - don't take it somewhere unsafe.

      For you young 'uns, the internet is not a safe place.

    2. Yes Me Silver badge
      Holmes

      US hosted data

      > If they do this openly, just imagine what they do with your US hosted data.

      Actually customs officers in many countries can demand passwords; they have very strong powers. I'd say that this is a risk that most companies have learned to accept (or else issue special sanitised laptops for international travel). And data hosted in another country (not just the US) is subject to whatever that country's intelligence services are allowed to do. That's an intrinsic risk of cloud computing, and it's short-sighted to only point at the US risks. There are numerous countries that require equipment vendors to provide back doors.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NSA is the problem

      You really think you are anon?

    4. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: NSA is the problem

      Is there evidence that NSA has greater access to data resident in the US than that resident elsewhere? The procedures used would differ somewhat, but access to foreign data stored in the US may require legal process that may not be needed to access it in some other locations where NSA has the authority under US law to obtain it directly without troubling to make a request.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anon, as I would like to enter the US without problems

    You think that's enough to stop the NSA finding out who you are? ;-)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A strengthened Safe Harbour will restore trust in EU-US data flows,”

    The word 'disconnect' comes to mind.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Chat about Safe Harbour all you like...

    Because your data isn't even safe right here in Europe when it's held by ANY American company...

  6. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Obviously trying to get the agreement signed before the ECJ rules (and basically says you can't have an agreement) - sounds like 'Quick! Change the rules before the cops get here and we'll get away with it.' Why the panic? Why is it necessary to try to circumvent justice? What's really going on?

    As a citizen, who's life is controlled by these unelected people, my adjective for the day is "scary".

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why do we have standards?

    ....even though the US does not meet the EU’s adequacy standards on data protection.

    So why didn't we stop letting them process data?

    If the eu makes a rule and fails to enforce it or stand behind it then by definition the eu is without any use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do we have standards?

      What's the betting on all these regulations being done in Office 365?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Why do we have standards?

      Considering the noises made my US Govt. and companies, it does make me wonder why they don't want to meet the higher EU standards on data protection.

      They claim that personal data is important and "won't be mis-used" blah, blah, blah but the reality is that the US Govt. is frightened of their own industry lobbyists, ie they've been "bought" by promises of "campaign contributions" and a cushy job next time the lose an election.

      Anyway, they are easily frightened into doing as their told. Just mention "liberal" or "socialist" and they start to quiver.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "a legally enforceable but voluntary code of conduct"

    There's one thing in that sentence that does not go with other.

    Kind of like saying stopping at a red light is voluntary, yet legally enforceable.

    It's either legally enforceable, or it is voluntary. Can't be both.

    Unless, of course, it is like the "volontaire désigné d'office*", the old joke in the French army.

    *translates into the designated volunteer

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: "a legally enforceable but voluntary code of conduct"

      @Pascal_Monett I believe it is a code of conduct which is (voluntarily) incorporated into contracts, so enforceable through the civil courts.

      Might be wrong though....

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "a legally enforceable but voluntary code of conduct"

      They can choose not to follow the code of conduct and can handle US (and other) personal data to their own standards, but if they want to handle EIU data then they voluntarily sign up to the code of conduct after which they are legally obliged to uphold it or get out of the EU data business. IMHO, IANAL and YMMV

      Stopping at a red light is also optional but legally enforceable. You can choose not to drive :-)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >"A strengthened Safe Harbour will restore trust in EU-US data flows,” said Jourová.

    Restoring trust in a fundamentally flawed, corrupted and ineffectual mechanism IS NOT A DESIRABLE OUTCOME.

  10. sergioio
    Big Brother

    What About Our Own Data-Protection Standards?

    OK, how can the UK meet EU's adequacy standards? Remember, Cameron wants to ban secure messenger apps like Threema and Wickr. Talk about data protection rights.

  11. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Facepalm

    LOL @ Shrem.

    The really ironic thing about the whole Shrem case is it highlights the fact that people will willingly give companies like Faecesbook their private data in return for free services without stopping to think for a second what happens to that data! The answer - stop being dumb and using marketing-driven tools like Faecesbook! If you are stupid enough to put all your secrets on Faecesbook then you really only have yourself to blame.

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "the European Parliament called for it to be suspended. The commission has stopped short of doing that and instead is re-negotiating the deal."

    Re-negotiating would have been much quicker (i.e. less then infinite time) if they'd suspended it in the interim.

    As the saying goes, when you've got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.

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