The dozens of Edward Snowden revelations, which uncovered the mass spying and data collection activities carried out by the world’s most important agencies including GCHQ and the NSA, have revealed that various US tech companies may also be involved – willingly or not, in some of the NSA’s programmes.
US companies implicated in NSA spying
The leaks claimed that the NSA has access to personal data from many US companies including Facebook, Skype, Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple. That access to information may be much greater than initially believed, as they could in fact the US-EU “Safe Harbor Framework” for transatlantic data transfer and trade deals.
In a recent case before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the European Commission said that the Safe Harbor Framework doesn’t sufficiently protect EU citizen’s personal data from US spying. A solution is not coming anytime soon, according to a report from euobserver.
Unsurprisingly, the best way to prevent succumbing to such spying operations by the NSA, is to stop using various US based online services, including Facebook, until they open data centres in Europe at least.
“You might consider closing your Facebook account, if you have one”, said European Commission attorney Bernhard Schima at the CJEU on Tuesday, saying that personal data transferred from Europe to the US isn’t necessarily protected under the US-EU agreement, even though the Framework should ensure data privacy and security.
The case was brought before the CJEU after an Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems filed complaints with the Irish High Court against the five US companies mentioned earlier. The Irish court then referred it to the European body.
Schrems sas that data passed to the US can’t be adequately protected. Meanwhile, the European Commission is in talks about improving data protection for EU citizens, even though the Safe Harbour Framework can’t guarantee that protection currently.