back to article Safe Harbor solution not coming any time soon, says Dutch minister

A solution to the Safe Harbor data framework will not hit its January 2016 deadline, raising the possibility of large fines levied against companies like Facebook in the New Year. That's according to Dutch justice minister Ard van der Steur, who has published a lengthy response to Parliamentary questions on the issue. Van der …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Well, if you fine them, they'll just offset it against their European tax liability. Oh wait.....

    1. Sir Alien

      Re:

      If they refused to comply with local laws, ISPs could be forced to block them on national security reasons :-P

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "they'll just offset it against their European tax liability"

      Fines are not tax deductible.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or...

    Remove their off-shore offices.

    Governments cannot fine companies that don't exist in their respective country... (oddly, the TPP allows for the reverse! - damn, there's an article on it somewhere!).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Safe harbour was always bollocks. It's a clash of cultures...."We will reap the profit for our shareholders vs. We pretend to care for our citizens". Same game and all bollocks; but I prefer the European version.

    1. Lars Silver badge

      No

      It's not a clash of cultures...It's a clash of stupidity. It's a clash of power. Does anybody really believe that Republicans like Donald and (insert any name...) actually represent the American people. Balloony for bollocks. Please Americans, there is nothing here you will not agree with. Please Republican voters, it's not your fault, it's just that that party doesn't represent you anymore.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Re: No

        It never represented me. The radical, frothing at the mouth, power-conflict libertarian that I am. No, it was about voting against whichever idiot came down the pike expecting a roll-over (leg-over?). Not that it matters in this state (California) for the forseeable future; we've open-primaries now. Kinda defeats that whole vote against process, although it gives beaucoup opportunities to throw a spanner into the works. Maybe.

        The part that has me puzzled about Safe Harbor, is that the French just gave carte blanche to their intelligence services on anybody/anywhere. We already pretty much how well GCHQ is doing their job. How does that work against other EU citizens? They're going to be swept up too in these collections process.

        The reason I ask is not to justify what the US has allowed/not-done. I'm on firm ground that this is wrong on so many levels that it has no justification whatsoever if human rights mean anything to anyone, evermore. Let alone Constitutional, which is not.

        So, EU. How do we get to a realistic set of guidelines that all the intelligence services might adhere to?

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: No

          So, EU. How do we get to a realistic set of guidelines that all the intelligence services might adhere to?

          I hope not!

          When spies in the EU break the law they can be held to account through the courts. When foreign spies break the law in the EU they cannot. That's the simple truth.

          Is GHCQ violating EU human rights laws? Yes. Are they in court for it? Yes!

          It might take decades, but the wheels of justice do and will turn. GHCQ, BND and all the others will be brought to heel. Probably just by the end of our lifetimes, but it will happen.

          The US spies will never be brought to heel. Not by and for the benefit of their own people, but certainly not such that they grant the same legal rights to Europeans as Americans have...and give both parties the right to challenge the spying in a court of law.

          That's the difference. It isn't about what can be made to happen today or tomorrow. The arguments of "well EU countries are doing the same thing" is aught but silly buggers and not only irrelevant to the discussion but missing the point of the exercise entirely.

          This is about legal accountability. In the EU governments are legally obligated to be the servants of their people. People are not servants of their governments. Change takes time, and millions will be violated while that change unfolds...but it does fucking occur.

          The US government is not accountable to the citizens of the EU. It is thus perfectly rational to deny them the ability (insomuch as it is possible) to violate the rights of EU citizens.

          EU governments have the right to have the ability to violate the rights of EU citizens because if they do they can be held to account. It is an honour system that is flawed, but it is better than the complete fuck all that EU citizens have in the face of the Americans.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No

            @Trevor_Pott - you called him The Donald. With Capitalisation Even. That's what he wants to be called and as such that is the thing that you should never refer to him by. There are plenty of Donalds in the world and by using the prefix -The- (capitalisation) you are both elevating that particular collection of organics and devaluing Donalds everywhere. It ain't right.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: No

              @Tom Samplonius - No it is not OK; in Europe or the US. Blanket surveillance is wrong. End of.

            2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: No

              @Moiety

              If my name was Donald I would have it changed. The Donald has ruined it for everyone. Just like people with the last name Hitler changed their name, I would really think about not in any way ever being associated with "Donald" or "Trump" for several generations, at least.

              At least Hitler didn't ruin "Adolf" as thoroughly as Trump has ruined "Donald".

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: No

                Well don't call the arsehole -[deleted because search engines]- then. He is not even a very interesting Donald. That man is only -a- Donald; and probably one who drags the rest of them down.

                Yea, if that was my name I'd be looking seriously at changing it too.

                1. A K Stiles
                  Gimp

                  Re: No

                  I do find some small amusement that for a long time (i.e. from when I was in school in the 80's) the word that also happens to be his surname has been used as both a noun and a verb to represent the hot and noxious gasses and the process of expelling them from one's arsehole. In fact, now that I think about it, there is even more similarity there...

                  icon is the closest thing I could find to a gas-mask

              2. hplasm
                Happy

                Re: No

                For someone with the last name of Trump, being called Donald is the least of his problems...

                Perhaps calling him Not_Ronald_Mc would do?

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: No

          @Jack of Shadows different countries in the EU approach the importance of data protection differently. Countries like the UK and France look for ways around the restrictions, so that they can spy on their own citizens - the UK Charter has been rejected twice, I think, by the ECJ as illegal and needs to be watered down.

          Likewise the German attempt to get metadata stored for 6 months was shot down by the ECJ and by the German Constitutional Court as illegal. But on the other hand, the German government is promoting "Email made in Germany", which means the email is encrypted in the mail client / browser and decrypted at the other end and email between servers is encrypted, as long as the servers are within Germany and within the "Email made in Germany" group of ISPs and businesses. So you have the government here actually promoting the use of encrypted communications between individuals, whilst the UK, USA and France want to ban it.

          Germany and the Netherlands are also very protective of their citizens against spying (at least when it isn't their own Nachrichtendienst trying to do the spying) and the data protection agencies are very loud and very active in Germany, when it comes to protecting citizens. The rules are among the tightest in Europe and the independent DPRs take the matter very seriously, even if they are seriously underfunded, when compared to the cadres of lawyers that Facebook and Google, for example, throw at the problem of how to circumvent data protection.

          As to how do we get realistic guidelines? How about now mass spying and only monitoring communications when a valid warrant has been issued by a court? That is the current situation, the data collected by companies in the EU cannot be given to third parties without the written permission of the identifiable persons in that data or a valid EU issued warrant.

          That is the crux of the matter, the US ignore this requirement in the Safe Harbour agreement and want the data handed over without even a US issued warrant, let alone a valid EU issued warrant. They just ignore the rights of citizens' rights to privacy, jurisdiction and proper procedure and stamp on corporate toes until the companies put themselves in a position to be prosecuted in the EU, because they handed EU sourced personal data over to the US authorities without proper legal permission (i.e. a valid EU warrant).

          The current situation with Microsoft vs. New York /FBI is more interesting as Microsoft already ensure the data stays in the EU, but the FBI and New York DA say that it is irrelevant that the data is held under EU law, in an EU country on EU based servers by an EU incorporated company, because that EU company happens to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft USA and therefore data sovereignty is irrelevant, because USA.

          Microsoft are now trying to circumvent this situation by installing their software and services on servers owned by European hosters with no presence in the USA and to which Microsoft has no direct access to the servers or the data - no remote access and they will be accompanied into the secure tract, when they need to change configuration. The first data centers for this should come online early next year, here in Germany, in co-operation with T-Systems.

        3. Eclectic Man Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: No

          Jack of Shadows wrote: "So, EU. How do we get to a realistic set of guidelines that all the intelligence services might adhere to?"

          Sorry, don't understand. You think intelligence services adhere to rules anywhere? That is like asking the NRA to agree on sensible on gun control legislation.

          The fact is that it is the politicians and judiciary who will have to enforce compliance with the law on the USA's intelligence agencies, and here in Europe the relevant government and judiciary, and possibly the European Court.

          But don't worry, once we've signed up to TTIP, the secret tribunals will all rule in favour of large American corporations' 'right' to send our data to locations in the USA and sell it to whoever wants it. Allowing the intelligence communities to take whatever they want, because the TTIP and similar trade deals are outside of national legislation so not subject to inconvenient things like the UK's or EU's Data Protection legislation.

          We are all slaves to the 'Masters of the Unverse'.

      2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: No

        Does anybody really believe that Republicans like Donald and (insert any name...) actually represent the American people

        I honestly and ardently believe that The Donald's batshit bannanas bigoted bullshit represents between 15% and 30% of the American people, depending on how you want to crunch the numbers (and a lot of smart people are doing just that, so the error bars will shrink with time.)

        Unfortunately, these are passionate individuals who can and will vote. They are a power bloc that cannot and shout not be ignored. 50% - 60% of Americans are so apathetic they don't seem to care strongly about anything. They don't and won't vote and they spend more time mocking anyone who stands up for a firmly held belief than standing up for any belief of their own.

        That leaves (depending on how you crunch the numbers) between 10% and 35% of Americans who care strongly about something other than The Donald's bigotry enough to combat him.

        10% - 35% versus 15% - 30%. I really - really - don't like those odds, especially when amongst that 10%- 35% of people opposed to The Donald there are a largish number of establishment republicans.

        So you know what? Yeah. The Donald and his gang of sociopathic nutjobs very well might represent America. Or, more accurately, they quite possibly represent the largest block of people who are not just completely apathetic.

        America is best represented by a grime-stained t-shirt that says "meh, fuck it". Unfortunately for the rest of the world, you won't be giving a t-shirt personal command over nuclear fucking weapons. You'll be most likely handing that power over to someone who is horrible, horrifying and megalomaniacal. No matter which party happens to win.

        Seriously, if you guys don't elect Bernie Sanders we're all pretty much fucked. Please don't screw us, America. Please.

    2. Tom Samplonius

      "Safe harbour was always bollocks. It's a clash of cultures...."We will reap the profit for our shareholders vs. We pretend to care for our citizens". Same game and all bollocks; but I prefer the European version."

      Unfortunately, the irony seems to be lost on Europeans. The NSA had willing partners throughout the EU that gave them data from Europe, so even data stored in Europe is still subject to NSA snooping. And the UK is about to make data collection, like the NSA was or is doing, mandatory for ISPs to perform and store for a year! Apparently, that is ok for Europe, because it is law and therefore legal. But for some reason, it is not ok for the NSA to do it by themselves in cooperation with intelligence agencies throughout the EU? But lets say, Facebook compiles with so-called European "data projection" laws, and moves all Europe data to Europe, won't the UK and German intelligence agencies still share their feeds with the NSA? So what exactly is cancelling the Safe Harbor agreement supposed to solve?

      It does do one thing: it gives European Internet businesses a chance to compete against better US ones. The NSA won't care, as they get feeds from all over the EU anyways, so keeping Europe data in Europe is probably better than keeping it in the US, as ISPs in the US aren't required to keep connection records.

      1. VinceH

        "Unfortunately, the irony seems to be lost on Europeans. [...] Apparently, that is ok for Europe, because it is law and therefore legal."

        You seem to be confusing us with people who don't give a damn about any of this.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          that particular collection of organics

          Holy fuck that was diplomatic. I can do this. Quick - someone tell me about a small country with nice neighbours who want a diplomat before I sober up. I'm all over that shit. Effluence; I mean effluence.

  4. noj

    "So, EU. How do we get to a realistic set of guidelines that all the intelligence services might adhere to?"

    You don't. Why put on a facade any longer? All the intelligence services are allowed to operate with no regard for the law - so why waste time trying to write guidelines that will be ignored?

    Does anyone really believe big intelligence services would follow guidelines even of their governments said they would?

    1. DocJames
      Pint

      Does anyone really believe big intelligence services would follow guidelines even of their governments said they would?

      No, but it gives you a big stick to beat them with if they are found out. This makes them somewhat more cautious (assuming there is a risk of them being caught - and this is hard to calculate).

      Beer, cos it's better (and healthier*) than worrying more.

      * I worry a lot about this.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can't argue with the law, punk!

    That Ard van der Steur can frown almost as well as Judge Dredd. Let's hope he'll be just as strict in not allowing US punks to argue with the EU Law.

    1. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Re: You can't argue with the law, punk!

      The real Dredd (comics from the 80's) always kept his helmet on. No one can see you frown in MegaCity One.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: You can't argue with the law, punk!

        The real Dredd (comics from the 80's) always kept his helmet on.

        Indeed he did, but...

        No one can see you frown in MegaCity One.

        Yes they can.

        (That's the cover of 2000 AD #168, 12 July 1980. Someone's frown is prominently featured, sub-faceplate.)

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