28 Feb 2018

DIGITALEUROPE concerned about U.S. attitudes towards European data in Supreme Court hearing

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case U.S. v Microsoft in which DIGITALEUROPE intervened with an amicus brief on behalf of its membership along with trade associations representing German (BITKOM) and French (Syntec Numerique and Tech In France) industry.

As the transcript from the Supreme Court hearing shows, the Supreme Court Justices asked a number of pointed questions and directly mentioned amicus briefs submitted from Europe. DIGITALEUROPE noted with particular surprise comments made by the Deputy Solicitor General at the Court hearing, who said that “[t]here is not an international problem here. This is largely a mirage that Microsoft is seeking to create”.

DIGITALEUROPE couldn’t disagree more and the big number of other amicus parties, including industry, governments, academics and digital rights groups, raising concerns about the extraterritorial reach of U.S. authorities speaks for itself.

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE responds:

“DIGITALEUROPE wants to make it clear that accessing data in Europe of European citizens is taken very seriously in the EU for both the private and public sectors alike. A U.S. government official making statements to the contrary, is not reflecting the facts. What we need sooner rather than later is a new EU-U.S. agreement, which protects the rights of European citizens and companies, while enabling law enforcement to do their job effectively.”

“The EU has consistently demonstrated vigilance when it comes to protecting the fundamental rights of Europeans and ensuring that the right safe guards are in place to protect Europeans’ data against government interference. The EU’s GDPR protects data hosted in Europe from direct access by law enforcement from third countries, so do national laws in Europe. This is a big concern.”

For more information please contact
Alberto Di Felice
Policy and Legal Counsel
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