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European data protection in US hands - establishing a security-privacy balance

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European data protection in US hands - establishing a security-privacy balance


Concern over privacy in Europe — this is the basis of plans presented for talks with the United States to set standards of access to information about EU citizens.

Top EU rights official Viviane Reding tells Euronews about safeguarding personal data shared in pursuit of criminals and terrorism suspects.

Reding said: “The European Union has data protection authorities. In each member state these are independent, and at EU level we are better placed than the US at the moment. On the basis of protecting European citizens and all citizens in Europe, we want to discuss with the Americans setting up similar protection in the US.”

Euronews asked: “Taking a concrete example of a European citizen in any given EU country: he finds that his data are being handled overseas by security agencies. What can he do? What must he do?”

Reding: “Right now, he can’t do much. But an American citizen with the same problem in Europe could seek protection from European instances. Therefore, a system must be establised to give the same kind of rights to Europeans in the United States as are given to Americans in Europe, or European citizens in Europe.”

“Clearly, when these data are kept, the citizen has a right of access. He can have them changed if they are incorrect. He can have them wiped if they are no longer needed in an investigation. We need these ground rules, these standards to apply to all specific data transfers to the United States.”

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