back to article Privacy, net neutrality, security, encryption ... Europe tells Obama, US Congress to back off

A letter sent to the US Congress by over 50 members of the European Parliament has hit back at claims of "digital protectionism" emanating from the United States. Sent on Wednesday, the letter [PDF] takes issue with criticisms from President Obama and Congress over how the EU is devising new laws for the digital era. "We are …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    While we are at it!

    Very well.

    Now, I want to bring to the attention of the estimated delegates the suave poodle play exhibited by the EU during the Ukraine ominshambles ...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: While we are at it!

      Oh, four thumbs down? Are there Amurricans in the forum today? Please excuse my hotheadedness.

      Meanwhile....

      Tensions between the US and Russia are already at a near-term high in recent weeks, and look to be getting even worse amid new reports from Germany’s ZDF that the US intends to deploy new nuclear weapons to Germany and upgrade its nuclear infrastructure across Europe.

      Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the move a “very serious step toward exacerbating tensions on the European continent,” and warned that if the US follows through on these plans Russia would carry out retaliatory countermeasures, adding more ballistic missiles to its exclave of Kaliningrad.

      ...

      The ZDF report came simply out of publicly available US budgetary information, and publicized some deployments the administration clearly did not intend to make a matter of serious discourse. The deployments are likely to also rankle Germany itself, because the deployment of Cold War-era nuclear arms was already highly controversial, and many Germans simply want the weapons of mass destruction removed, not upgraded.

      Excellent timing. Carry on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        Re: While we are at it!

        "Oh, four thumbs down? Are there Amurricans in the forum today? Please excuse my hotheadedness."

        D.A.M, your anti-US backwash is getting tiresome. Wouldn't be so bad if it weren't merely sophmoric taunting.

        Why don't you try a new tune? Or is the act of hating far-away people such an evergreen sport for you that quitting is unthinkable?

    2. AndyS

      Re: While we are at it!

      I can't speak for the others, but I donwvoted not because I disagree with your politics (although I'm not quite sure what they are, to be honest - I can't quite decript what you're on about) but because your comments are pretty much irrelevant to the topic at hand.

      1. Shades
        Headmaster

        Re: While we are at it!

        *decrypt

  2. Tromos
    Joke

    Bot

    Oh noes! The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has been pwned!!!

    1. Chronos

      Re: Bot

      He's just an Eggdrop with a very specific set of scripts timed to run in the Yvening.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And suddenly ..

    .. we know the final decision of Europe vs Facebook well before it's officially announced :).

    Now let's see what finally happens in the DoJ vs Microsoft case because that will pretty much set the scene for the rest of this year.

    The really intelligent thing to do politically would be to find a way to withdraw the DoJ request, because that leaves the matter unresolved and thus avoids establishing a precedent which confirms the problems Silicon Valley has with EU privacy laws. Given the amount of money involved ($ billions), I suspect that that is exactly what is going to happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And suddenly ..

      It will be dropped on a technicality at some point. I am surprised it has not happened so far.

    2. Youngone Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: And suddenly ..

      That's a really interesting view which had not occurred to me and you may be right but I was of the view that the DOJ has rather nailed their colours to the mast on this one and wish to see it through.

      I suppose we'll find out in due course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And suddenly ..

        That's a really interesting view which had not occurred to me and you may be right but I was of the view that the DOJ has rather nailed their colours to the mast on this one and wish to see it through.

        Thank you. I have been planning corporate privacy structures for coming up to 10 years now, and if it wasn't for ethics and confidentiality I could write books about the shenanigans and horseplay behind the scenes. It is a mess.

        The problem for the US is that the EU is not going allow it to stick another "Safe Harbor" bit of gaffer tape over the large legislative differences in consumer privacy. Before Snowden, the US would have done the usual arm twisting and blackmail with trade regulation threats to get their way, but Snowden provided the EU with real leverage. The larger US companies are panicking over the impact EU privacy ALREADY has on their business, and I thus suspect that there is a lot of political pressure leveraged against the DoJ to make this go away without a decision, for one reason alone:

        This problem cannot be fixed with a simple precedent. The challenge sits at a much deeper level, and it requires a change of legislation (in various laws) to fix it. That would have to happen against a backdrop of lobbying from other entities such as the 3 letter agencies to maintain the status quo, so it'll take a lot of time, and with a decision imminent it could all go horribly wrong for US companies: they do not want to see that problem confirmed in public for all to see.

        Thinking that Microsoft will win this is in my opinion wishful thinking. It would establish a precedent that a single company can change the law, and that, for instance, the likes of Enron would have been able to hide their activities by storing their data in a subsidiary in a different jurisdiction. I don't think you will be able to find a judge willing to establish such a precedent.

        Last but not least, there is no doubt in my mind that Microsoft knows all this. It is simply posturing to make itself appear as a company that cares about customer privacy. All you need to do is read the Windows 10 EULA to know how real that is...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: And suddenly ..

          If you're so knowledgeable about this the following comment surprises me: "Thinking that Microsoft will win this is in my opinion wishful thinking. It would establish a precedent that a single company can change the law,"

          This and the Enron bit have been trotted out before and it's wrong. Nobody is challenging the DoJ's right to subpoena evidence if they follow due process. The precedent that the DoJ is trying to set here is that if a company looks after the records of someone else then those records become part of the company's records. Enron's company records would have been Enron's company records wherever they were held and a decision in Microsoft's favour wouldn't change that.

          There is a mechanism in place for a request to go through due process of law in Ireland. They chose not to use that and invent the theory that other people's email is part of Microsoft's coompany records. Why they did so is a good question. Was it a fishing expedition which couldn't be made to stand up in Ireland because there was no good prima facie case?

          If such a precedent were set think of the possible consequences. SomeCo is acting as a safe deposit for documents establishing somebody's right to property; say the deeds of your house. SomeCo goes into receivership or whatever the equivalent is in the US. The receiver can treat the deeds as SomeCo's company records and make whatever use of them that will raise money. When it's put like that does it seem such a good precedent to set?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And suddenly ..

            This and the Enron bit have been trotted out before and it's wrong. Nobody is challenging the DoJ's right to subpoena evidence if they follow due process. The precedent that the DoJ is trying to set here is that if a company looks after the records of someone else then those records become part of the company's records.

            The position the DoJ takes is that a US company has access to records they want to have, and the route they use for this is the fact that the HQ is based in the US. Most of the time, US laws don't even acknowledge that is such a thing as "abroad". Data ownership is entirely irrelevant in this context, and without a legal mechanism to define a different jurisdiction as unreachable, Microsoft will be found in contempt if it does not deliver. It may want to accept that position, but it will not change the law or the position they find themselves in.

            It is the *exact* problem US companies have when handling data owned by EU entities, and they've been trying to keep this under wraps for over a decade because they cannot fix this.

            1. mosw

              Re: And suddenly ..

              Last thing I read on this Microsoft had asked the court to find them in contempt immediately so they could move on to the next step which is either an appeal process or a higher court (can't remember which). So it looks to me that Microsoft want this ruled in the highest court possible to get a precedent set.

              1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

                Re: And suddenly ..

                As far as I can see we're looking at an expensive and risky legal game of chicken.

                It'll be interesting to see if someone is going to blink before the end, or where this leads.

    3. veti Silver badge

      Re: And suddenly ..

      You need to remember that governments in general, and the US government in particular, are not very united. Not everyone on their team is necessarily pulling in the same direction.

      It may well be that some players in the US - quite possibly, including Obama himself - are pressing forward with that case hoping that Microsoft will win, because getting the law struck down by the courts is a lot quicker, easier and cheaper than trying to persuade Congress to change it. In fact, all people of goodwill should be in favour of the DOJ pressing it, because that's the only way to establish clarity about what the law really is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And suddenly ..

        It may well be that some players in the US - quite possibly, including Obama himself - are pressing forward with that case hoping that Microsoft will win, because getting the law struck down by the courts is a lot quicker, easier and cheaper than trying to persuade Congress to change it. In fact, all people of goodwill should be in favour of the DOJ pressing it, because that's the only way to establish clarity about what the law really is.

        Judges cannot strike down laws. They can at best adjust them by setting precedent.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: And suddenly ..

      "Now let's see what finally happens in the DoJ vs Microsoft case because that will pretty much set the scene for the rest of this year."

      This year? That's optimistic in terms of court proceedings. And whatever happens the consequences will probably rumble on for a good few years.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Well... the problem is spotted....

    but accept that a variety of views are an integral part of our open democracies."

    The EU seems to think the US is an "open democracy". I wish we had a ROFLMAOWPMP icon but this one will have to do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: Well... the problem is spotted....

      The EU seems to think THEY are an "open democracy" too.

      I'll have one of those ROFLMAOWPMP's...

  5. Zot
    Joke

    Voted.

    Who did we vote for in this debacle?

    Yay, go civilians!

  6. 404

    Fuck_Them_All

    Just one good solar flare... or is that too much to ask?

    /tired of the bullshit already...

  7. Teiwaz

    Trade thingie being signed soon?

    The sounds like a bit of theatre to keep interested plebs looking elsewhere and less militant.

    Oh, and did the U.S. want both euro gonads served up with the salad or just the one.

    (I won't point any fingers at the B.O'B - he's just another Zaphod Beeblebrox.)

  8. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    how many of the MEPs were from the UK

    Damn few I suspect.

    Sometimes just sometimes I get the feeling that this grand European democracy may just be working.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Re: how many of the MEPs were from the UK

      They'll be even less (read none) if some people get their way.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: how many of the MEPs were from the UK

      You can check for yourself by reading the linked PDF. And the answer isn't just damn few, it's none! Not unless we have an MEP with a very non-UK sounding name.

      1. AndyS

        Re: how many of the MEPs were from the UK

        What, like "Farage"? Dirty foreign name.

    3. Rob Gr

      Re: how many of the MEPs were from the UK

      Couldn't be bothered to follow the link and read the list of signatories then?

      (In case you still can't, I'll save you the bother, none).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Enemy Treaty Inbound!

    Is this the same EU that is so eager to sign the TPP treaty? If so, they can kiss goodbye to barking orders in the USA's general direction.

  10. Tikimon
    Angel

    Maybe the true ruler's voice will be heard now... MONEY!

    I'm actually being hopeful here that good things might actually happen. Plenty of us believe that cash drives it all, yes? Well, consider all that lost business when EU companies stop dealing with US outfits or sharing data with them. When Faceborg et. al. have to store EU data on EU soil and protect it by EU standards. OMG nightmare! What will American business demand from our legislators then?

    When the monetary losses are severe and widespread enough, perhaps then Something Will Be Done to end the sociopathic data harvesting by all parties. I'm not terribly confident, but face it... None of this will change based on privacy or consumer/citizen rights. Greed and self-interest might do the job.

  11. earl grey
    WTF?

    GAFA

    Ok, so i'm not well educated on this stuff, but can someone throw me a bone as to what EU companies actually compete with GAFA and have any market share? any?

  12. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Coat

    "we trust in Europe's ability to foster talent, creativity and entrepreneurship."

    Absolutely, look at the talent and creativity Volkswagen has been employing towards the US of late...

  13. reformed technorati

    Feck off evertything I don't need the internet Its an evil creation it has dstroyed more than built doubt me tell me 5 benefits and I give you 20 evils each time.

  14. reformed technorati

    Feck the internet just shut I down its evil it may morph into a twenty first century Frankenstein monster that engulfs homo sapien meduula oblongatas and that pushes it to just kickoff oh dear

  15. W. Anderson

    clearer factual viewpoint

    One point to note - by US readers - in this tit-for-tat involving conflicting views between the USA and European Union (EU) on Privacy, Encryption, Net-Neutrality, etc is that dominant technology at the heart of these issues and GAFA base is "not" American created or controlled, but rather a significant percentage of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) that is developed by peoples and entities around the world, which put the EU on no less a footing for their own technology hedges than most Americans might think, their being "Greatest country in the World". (sic).

    Much of the rhetoric in USA (or USA controlled/ strongly influenced) media has decidedly focused on prognostications from US politicians, President Obama and Silicon Valley, with very little or no viewpoints or feed back (this being one exception) provided from EU interests, such as Siemens, Ericsson, Deutsche Telecom and the like.

    Beware a US false sense of superiority or greater intelligence, know-how.

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