This week, the grandly-named Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (LIBE) met and discussed written testimony from US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Snowden told of the NSA’s disregard of US data gathering laws, and described the ineffectiveness of the resulting mass surveillance.
He also answered various written questions from the committee.
Looking at the US government's reports here is valuable. The most recent of these investigations, performed by the White House's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, determined that the mass surveillance program investigated was not only ineffective - they found it had never stopped even a single imminent terrorist attack - but that it had no basis in law. In less diplomatic language, they discovered the United States was operating an unlawful mass surveillance program, and the greatest success the program had ever produced was discovering a taxi driver in the United States transferring $8,500 to Somalia in 2007.
In a landslide majority vote, the EU Parliament also finalised a new data privacy law backed by stiffer penalties.
Companies can now be fined up to €100,000,000 (about $140m), or 5% of their global business turnover, for privacy violations.
Gone will be the system of different privacy laws in each EU state: the new law is pan-European.
Even foreign businesses are included, so any organisation that provides services to EU citizens will be required to conform. (Look out, Google!)
Although the EU started on this legislation well before the Snowden leaks, legislators and political observers have said that Snowden's revelations highlighted awareness of the need to protect privacy, and had an impact on the breadth and strength of the final legislation.
Looking at the Snowden disclosures now after several months have elapsed I actually think that he has helped to bring matters to a head finally. I have not agreed with everything he has done but I am glad that he has brought privacy into the limelight.
Microsoft® Windows Insider MVP - Windows Security
I don't know if he is reshaping privacy.
The following article is a update on Snowden privacy
(Snowden is right to be disgusted at UK 'emergency surveillance bill')
By: Mark Wilson/ Posted on July 14 2014
When we talk about surveillance online, it is almost always with reference to the NSA and activities in the US. But US citizens are far from being the only web users affected by surveillance. The NSA has long arms, but there are also similar activities going on in plenty of other countries. This week in the UK, the government is pushing through legislation that requires phone and internet companies to store information about customers' communication, and to hand it over to authorities on request. What made this particularly unusual was the fact that this was classed as emergency surveillance legislation with little to no debate and, more importantly, no public consultation whatsoever. Edward Snowden has plenty say on the matter, likening the British government to the NSA.
The legislation covers not only UK-based companies, but also those based in other countries who have gathered data about UK customers. It is in direct opposition to a recent European court ruling that said retention of data was a violation of European law. This in itself would be reason for any surveillance-related laws to be debated, but the government chose instead to use emergency measures -- usually reserved for times of war or disaster -- to push through laws it knows will prove unpopular. As we are now used to hearing, the surveillance is not about recording phone calls, or storing individual emails and text messages, but about retaining the related metadata -- who contacted who, when, for how long, from where, and so on.
betanews/ Full Read Here/ http://betanews.com/2014/07/13/wilsons-weekend-whine-snowden-is-right-to-be-disgusted-at-uk-emergenc...
The following article is a update on Snowden
(Snowden Deserves Protection From Prosecution: UN Rights Chief)
GENEVA - Fugitive US intelligence agent Edward Snowden deserves shielding from prosecution for having thrown the spotlight on state snooping, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said Wednesday.
"Those who disclose human rights violations should be protected. We need them," Pillay told reporters.
"And in the case of Snowden, his revelations go to the core of what we are saying about the need for transparency, the need for consultation," she said as she launched a report on the right to privacy in the digital age.
Pillay, a former judge at the International Criminal Court, declined to call on US President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden.
Pressed repeatedly on the issue, she said: "I'm not going to say whether he should be pardoned. He's facing charges, and as a former judge I know that if he's facing judicial proceedings, we should wait for that outcome."