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Move on data protection or fail on TTIP, EU Parliament chair says

IP Watch | 2 February 2014

Move on data protection or fail on TTIP, EU Parliament Chair says

By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch

At the Munich Security Conference a year ago, there was a considerable first push for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Eight months after the start of official TTIP negotiations and with the Snowden revelations in between, the tone at the 50th edition of the high-level foreign policy event in Munich is somewhat changed.

The Munich Security Conference ran from 31 January to 2 February.

On 31 January, there was a stern warning from Elmar Brok, chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, that the United States must move quicker on joint data protection standards to avoid failure of the bilateral talks between the EU and the US.

“We will fail to win the vote in the European Parliament if people in Europe do not trust the protection of their data,” Brok said during a panel on “Rebooting Trust: Freedom and Security in Cyberspace.”

Brok urged the US to move on the question of bestowing redress rights to EU citizens where their data had been abused. Equal rights for European Union citizens are the very point negotiators of an EU-US umbrella agreement on data protection had so far been unable to agree upon, he said.

US Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Kentucky), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, warned against mixing up the trade agenda with the ongoing talks about the NSA revelations. “We work through it as a family and we get there,” he said in a discussion with the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Thomas de Maizière.

De Maizière had called the NSA surveillance programmes “excessive” and information shared by the US so far “insufficient,” but he said Germany was still supportive of the TTIP.

The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, meanwhile, called it a “game changer” of all free trade agreements currently under negotiation by the EU.

Rogers, addressing the loss of trust over privacy issues, warned against allowing third parties, including Russia, to drive a wedge between EU and US.

Meanwhile, a bleak picture of a bilateral world resulting from the Snowden revelations was drawn by Estonian President Toomas Ilves (speech here).

He said the revelations were abuses as ammunition and fuelled a “sort of Huntingtonian clash of civilizations between those countries, mainly authoritarian, that want to censor and restrict the internet and a coalition of democratic nations that stand up for the universal norms of freedom of speech and unhindered spread of ideas. Between those that want an internet ruled by states and one with all relevant stakeholders.” This was one of the “major international political clashes of the digital age.”

 source: IP Watch