Home > C13, cdnpoli, Digital Policy, EU, NSA, Politics, Privacy, User Rights > EU Parliamentary NSA Report Threatens CETA Trade Deal

EU Parliamentary NSA Report Threatens CETA Trade Deal

Yesterday the EU Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs issued a scathing draft report in which it is threatening to pull all personal data communications from the US and it’s “five eyes” surveillance partners (which includes Canada) sighting human rights concerns over mass surveillance. Michael Geist decodes the report stating:

“For non-privacy lawyers, the European Union law requires that non-EU countries maintain an “adequate” standard of data protection. Countries that do not meet that standard run the risk of being subject to restrictions on data transfers between themselves and all EU members states. The importance of receiving an adequacy finding was one of the prime motivations behind enacting private sector privacy law. “

Essentially it was the EU that pressured Canada in giving us our electronic privacy laws known as PIPEDA. The implications of this report could be huge for Canada.  Geist further explains:

“The European Parliament report now says the finding should be re-examined in light of the revelations of Canada’s active participation in global surveillance activities. Given the Canadian government’s emphasis on expanding European trade through the new Canada – EU Trade Agreement, a change in the adequacy status of Canadian privacy law could be enormously damaging. Moreover, given that the European Parliament will ultimately be required to approve CETA, the concerns about the trustworthiness of Canadian law within the EP could lead to opposition to the broader trade deal. “

Although this being a draft report, I think the EU has effectively made its point clear. This not only puts CETA a risk, but also the credibility of the Harper governments policies around lawful access legislation.  The EU may even end up going further than pulling personal data communications from the five eyes in the coming days, as it is set to review regulating “dual use” technologies and digital arms as I reported in 2013.  The new regulations on “dual use” technologies may black list tech companies who develop technologies around mass surveillance from doing business with EU countries.  CISCO in the US is one of the main dual use providers, and there are a number of Canadian companies that will also take a hit from this as well.

The policy and law coming from the EU over the next few months, will in fact shape our digital rights and landscape far beyond mass surveillance and international trade deals.  It will test the Harper governments ideology surrounding our basic civil human rights, with a libertarian Conservative movement growing in Canada each day and within currently elected Conservative MPs.  Harper may want to look around after this latest EU report.  It has effectively threatened his crowning achievement.  A tone deaf response may also serve to continue to fracture his political party on civil rights issues.


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