The European Parliament, last Wednesday voted on a resolution coming from its Civil Liberties committee which determines the European Parliament’s response to the NSA’s democratic over reach. As Glyn Moody points out in his Techdirt article, in order to become binding, it will need to be agreed by the Council of Ministers where their votes are directed by the Governments of the EU member states.
The European Parliament’s vote though is a strong statement for privacy and freedom of expression. The motion was guided through LIBE and the European Parliament by Claude Moraes, a Labour MEP from London. It is first and foremost a rejection of the US Government’s world wide surveillance programme, it criticises and names those countries it considers equally culpable, including the British Government. It proposes the establishment of a European Digital Habeas Corpus law and suspends or proposes suspending, the TTIP talks and commits to voting against it if data protection is included in the treaty, the US Data Protection safe harbour provisions and the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme.
If this had been reported more fully in the UK, I am sure we’d have the appalling argument reeled out as at the Westminster Hall debate, spying is part of the natural law of things, we’re the best in the world we should be proud, why should we be told what to do by Europeans, they’re all doing it anyway and we have the strongest legal framework in the world. (N.B. We don’t!) This vote shows that there are least some politicians who find the actions of the NSA and GCHQ fundamentally objectionable and are prepared to stand up, say so and cause serious problems to the spying governments and their corporate collaborators.
I have extracted the resolution from the EU’s web site, and it is available for download here…, if you want to read the whole text.
Thanks to Rick Falkvinge, Pirate Party Guru who pointed it out on his blog here, which I picked up via RSS & Feedly, he points at HAK, who points at the EU’s site, which shamefully has no index but on the record of proceedings for Wednesday, 12th March. The whole proceedings are available here.