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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 17 October, 2018
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EU to raise concerns about US data surveillance in Dublin summit

The European Commission says it will ask the US for assurances about the legality of its data harvesting this week.

EU commissioner Tonio Borg says Brussels chiefs will raise concerns about data protection at a summit with US diplomats in Dublin on Friday.
EU commissioner Tonio Borg says Brussels chiefs will raise concerns about data protection at a summit with US diplomats in Dublin on Friday.
Image: Yves Logghe/AP

A MAJOR MEETING of diplomats from the United States and the European Union will see Brussels demanding assurances that data on European internet users is not collected illegally by American security agencies.

European health commissioner Tonio Borg assured MEPs this morning that the summit, being held in Dublin on Friday, would see the European Commission raise concerns about the use of data scraped from services run by Facebook, Google and the likes.

“Programmes such as the so-called PRISM, and the laws on the basis of which such programmes are authorised, potentially endanger the fundamental right to privacy and to data protection of EU citizens,” Borg told a meeting of MEPs in Strasbourg this morning.

Borg assured that Europe would forcefully demand assurances that law enforcement bodies follow all appropriate laws.

MEPs were nearly unanimous in their condemnation of suggestions that the United States – and potentially, by extension, other governments – had been harvesting data on users who were not the subject of any criminal investigation.

Manfred Weber of the centre-right EPP, to which Fine Gael belongs, said it was “completely unacceptable that the US have different rules [for] US citizens and citizens of other countries.

“My data belongs to me – that is the cornerstone of European thinking on data protection,” he said.

Claude Moraes of Labour’s socialist grouping, the S&D, said the “vital balance” between security and data protection needed to be safeguarded.

However, Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope said MEPs were rushing to judgement by assuming illegal activity on the part of companies which had all denied involvement.

“Yet, here we are already pointing the finger, some of you already expressing anti-American or anti-Commission rhetoric.”

Read: British minister says report of UK access to US data is ‘baseless’

Meet: This is the man responsible for one of the biggest leaks in US history

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Gavan Reilly

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