Finally there seems to be real evidence that some fractions of the EU Commission has been acting behind the scenes–with the US–to water down EU data protection laws.
According to the human rights organisation Access, recently released documents show that outgoing EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström fed Americans information they needed to undermine privacy issues in the EU data protection package.
For many who have been following the E.U. privacy reform debate closely, this trans-Atlantic cooperation was an open secret. However, until now, it has not been possible to demonstrate DG Home’s maneuvers. Beyond the implications for the Data Protection Reform, the contents of the acquired document give cause for concern about Ms. Malmström’s suitability for leading EU negotiations with the USA on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), given that she has recently been chosen E.U. Commissioner-designate for Trade.
When considering this information one should also keep in mind that Commissioner Malmström has pushed back on the European Parliaments request to suspend the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP), giving the US intelligence bureaucracy access to bulk data on European bank transactions.
Also Malmström took a quite distant attitude, when information came to light that the US spy organisation NSA had broken into the EU based SWIFT database (handling much of the worlds bank transactions).
There is a rather telling hearing on mass surveillance in the European Parliament, from September 24th last year–with Commissioner Malmström, Europol Director Rob Wainwright and Blanche Petre from the General Council of SWIFT. Commissioner Malmströms unwillingness to protect European interests or to do anything that might upset the Americans is obvious. (Link/video»)
I would like to think that Commissioner Malmström and her staff was just a bit to naive and friendly with the US when it comes to EU data protection. But Malmströms paper trail is consistent. For example she was a member of the Swedish cabinet that made Sweden the closest NSA partner outside the Five Eyes-group. And as Commissioner she has been a strong proponent of Passenger Name Records (PNR), giving the US access to personal data about air passengers.
So, no. I’m not convinced that Cecilia Malmström is on the same side as the European people.
Update: This actually lead to a decision to vote on Malmströms candidacy in the EP Trade Committee, tomorrow, Tuesday.
Update 2: After todays letter from Malmström, she was approved by the EP Trade Committee.
Update 3: This is not over yet… »