Commenting in the context of a European Parliament debate on the EU-US Safe Harbour Agreement, which facilitates the transfer of data on EU citizens to US authorities by private enterprises, Green home affairs spokesperson and European Parliament draftsman/rapporteur on EU data protection legislation Jan Philipp Albrecht stated:
"We cannot allow the transfer of European citizens' data to unsafe harbours. The European Commission is right to state that respect for EU data protection standards must be a precondition for any transatlantic data exchange. There needs to be clear and concrete progress to this end by spring of this year. Without a significant improvement of data protection rules in the US, the current simplified data exchange provisions for US businesses under the Safe Harbour Agreement cannot be maintained.
"All data protection authorities in the EU have expressed concern that US businesses are not complying with the terms of Safe Harbour decision. Firms like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others have instead used the decision to circumvent EU rules on data protection. This must end.
"Since the Snowden revelations, European citizens are convinced that US internet companies are not taking appropriate measures to protect their data. As has been made clear, there are insufficient provisions for the protection of European citizens' data within the US. No future transfer of private data to US authorities should take place without common agreement between the EU and the US. To this end, there is a need to prioritise swift agreement of the EU-US data protection agreement, as well as draft EU rules on data protection, with a view to ensuring high levels of protection for EU citizens and their private data."With EU justice and home affairs ministers set to discuss these issues next week, they need to agree on a strict timetable for the conclusion of the review of EU data protection rules. Each day that passes with no agreement leads to the further erosion of European citizens' data protection rights."