The European Parliament's Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens Inquiry was told that the 'Safe Harbor' data sharing agreement has been in place between the EU and US for the past thirteen years. Under 'Safe Harbor' in order for EU businesses to share the personal information of customers with US firms those US firms must agree to seven data protection principles. But it now appears that the system is flawed and allows for wide-scale abuse by the firms themselves and easy infiltration by US intelligence agencies.
The European Union's most senior data protection official has also been giving evidence to the inquiry. He says that EU authorities are currently considering an amendment to the so called 'Cyber Crime Convention' that could make it easier for intelligence agencies like the NSA in the US to access the personal data of citizens.
The sharing of citizen's personal data by businesses within the EU has been discussed at a meeting of EU justice ministers. They have agreed in principle to set up a new data protection authority and introduce new laws which will force companies to make their data policies clearer. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding chaired those talks. MEP's have expressed disappointment that she has so far been unavailable to address their Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens Inquiry.
This inquiry has only completed half of its work but already damning evidence has come out that would shock even the most ardent conspiracy theorists. The inquiry will resume again next Monday.