US slams top EU high court official over data privacy deal

The United States has criticized a top adviser to the European Union’s high court for describing an important data privacy agreement between the US and the European Union as invalid.

On Wednesday, Yves Bot, an advocate general for the European Court of Justice (ECJ), said the US intelligence practices disclosed by Edward Snowden render the protections of the Safe Harbor program invalid.

“Because the surveillance carried out by the US is mass, indiscriminate surveillance … in those circumstances, a third country cannot in any event be regarded as ensuring an adequate level of protection,” Bot wrote in a non-binding opinion.

On Monday, the US mission to the EU said in a statement that “we believe that it is essential to comment in this instance because the Advocate General’s opinion rests on numerous inaccurate assertions about intelligence practices of the United States.”

The US mission rejected Bot’s claim that the US is involved in mass surveillance, noting that the spying program targets only “valid foreign intelligence threats” and that it abides by “publicly disclosed limitations.”

Under the 2000 agreement, technology giants, including Google and Facebook can legally funnel data for EU citizens across the Atlantic as they “self certify” that their data-privacy practices are equal to stricter EU regulations.

 

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