who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
row: US data storage leaves users open to
surveillance, court rules
2. With Trust Destroyed by
Mass Spying, Top EU Court
Asserts Need for Privacy Reform
3. Groups Issue Warning:
Pro-Corporate TPP Could Kill the
4. Privacy groups hail
'freedom from surveillance' in
European court's Facebook
Trans-Pacific Partnership: Permanently Locking In
The Obama Agenda For 40% Of
The Global Economy
6. No Safe Harbor: How NSA Spying
Undermined U.S. Tech
and Europeans’ Privacy
This is a Nederlog
of Wednesday, October 7, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1
is - in fact - about the decision of the European Court of Justice that
universal surveillance of everyone (as done by the
NSA, the GCHQ etc. etc.) is illegal. Item 2,
item 4 and item 6 are
also about this (and I am not sorry I have several reviews of
essentially the same decision: the reviews are rather
different). Next, item 3 and item 5
are about the TTP, that has been approved, but is not yet law (or
"law": I do not agree to "laws" that are being made in secret:
A real law should at least be public and publicly
discussed before it is voted into law, or not, and the TTP was and
is secret, and is also strongly manipulated by Obama and his pro rich
Facebook row: US
data storage leaves users open to surveillance, court rules
item today is an article by Ian Traynor and Owen Bowcott on The
This starts as follows
(and is a bit of Good News, that is fairly rare in these crisis pages):
The personal data of
Europeans held in America by online tech corporations is not safe from
US government snooping, the European court of justice has ruled, in a
landmark verdict that hits Facebook, Google, Amazon and many others.
court declared the EU-US “safe harbour” rules regulating firms’
retention of Europeans’ data in the US to be invalid, throwing a spoke
into trade relations that will also impact on current negotiations on a
far-reaching transatlantic trade pact between Washington and Brussels.
The ECJ, whose findings
are binding on all EU member states, ruled on Tuesday that: “The United
States … scheme enables interference, by United States public
authorities, with the fundamental rights of persons…”
The verdict came as a
direct result of Edward Snowden’s revelations, published in the
Guardian, of how the US National Security Agency was obtaining mass
access to data held by the big internet servers and telecoms companies
in the US. As a result, an Austrian lawyer, Maximilian Schrems, took
Facebook to court in Ireland, arguing the social media site was
violating his privacy by retaining his data in the US, including
material he had himself deleted.
The ruling will force the
companies involved to rethink their operations and to relocate some of
their operations, and also creates great legal uncertainty among the
4,400 European companies that use the safe harbour rules to transfer
customers’ data to the US.
Elsewhere Max Schrems
(<- Wikipedia) is styled "a graduate student" (not yet a lawyer). I
don't know what is correct. But he clearly is quite right - and
the European Court of Justice agreed, which is much more
As to "the
4,400 European companies that use the safe harbour rules to transfer
customers’ data to the US": I
don't pity them in the least, because they know and knew
that they were behaving illegally, and they did so because it
paid them to do so. (See item 6.)
There is more below (see item 2, item 4 and item
6) but here is first Edward
Snowden's reaction, whose courage and principled reasoning started it
Snowden himself welcomed
the judgment, sending out a stream of approving comments on his Twitter feed. “Europe’s high court just
struck down a major law routinely abused for surveillance. We are all
safer as a result,” he declared.
You’ve changed the world for the better … Bottom line: the #SafeHarbor ruling indicates the
indiscriminate interception of communications is a violation of rights."
Next, there is this on the
Jan Philipp Albrecht, a
German Green MEP specialising in data privacy, said: “Safe harbour
enabled masses of Europeans’ personal data to be transferred by
companies like Facebook to the United States over the past 15 years.
With today’s verdict it is clear that these transfers were in breach of
the fundamental right to data protection … The United States has to
deliver adequate, legally binding protection in the private sector as
well as to introduce juridical redress for EU citizens with regards to
their privacy rights in all sectors including national security.”
Note that this has been illegal
for 15 years (at least), incidentally by a ruling whose
name - as so often these days - stated the opposite of what it
does: "Safe harbour" meant that European private data were simply up
for grabs by the USA's NSA.
Next, as to "[t]he United States has to
deliver adequate, legally binding protection in the private sector": I very much doubt that the USA will
for five reasons (at least):
First, without a lot more
pressure, the NSA willl simply continue to try to get everything
they can get from American citizens.
Second, the internet is an international
affair, where one generally doesn't know by which servers one's
mails (etc.) reach their final end.
Third, all the NSA
needs is to have some access to servers in Europe, which it
could do simply by installing taps on it - "beamsplitters" - (in
secret) as in Mark
Klein's Room 641A
(and especially the last Wikipedia link is well worth reading: There
are supposed to be at least 20 such rooms for diverse servers
in the USA.)
Fourth, because the
internet is international, these taps may be all inside the USA and
even so may cover nearly all that happens on the internet.
Fifth, the NSA and the GCHQ
and all other European secret services, and those of Australia, New
Zealand and Canada, are still secret, and mostly do as
they please, hiding behind "laws" - such as the European Convention of
Human Rights - that allow them to do anything they like, without any
questions asked. (See September 24, 2015.)
So I am fairly skeptical
about how this will work out. But I do agree with the European Court of
Then again, the last bit
is again very minimalistic: Clearly, "the US
“does not afford an adequate level of protection of personal data"",
for if it had adequate levels of such protections there would not
be a problem and no universal surveillance.
The court found that Facebook and other digital operators do not
provide customers with protection from state surveillance. The ECJ
ruling said: “The safe harbour decision denies the national supervisory
authorities their powers where a person calls into question whether the
decision is compatible with the protection of the privacy and of the
fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals.”
It suggested that the US
“does not afford an adequate level of protection of personal data”.
Trust Destroyed by Mass Spying, Top
EU Court Asserts Need for Privacy Reform
article today is
by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
starts as follows (and is another view of the same decision as was
relayed by item 1):
Europe's top court on
Tuesday delivered a historic blow to mass surveillance with a ruling
that found the right to personal privacy trumps government spying.
Incidentally: That is in
accordance with Article 12 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but goes against Article 8 of the European Convention of
Human Rights (which made governmental spies into a sort of
supermen, to whom almost anything is allowed on the flimsiest of legal
excuses: See September 24, 2015).
I agree with the decision,
but there is the problem of the European Convention of Human Rights.
Next, the above continues
The European Court of
Justice (ECJ) found in its decision
(pdf) that the so-called "Safe Harbor" agreement, which allowed U.S.
companies to "self-certify" that they met strict privacy safeguards
while pulling data from European servers, "must be regarded as
compromising the essence of the fundamental right to respect for
private life" as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case was brought by
Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, who argued that American
surveillance operations such as PRISM—exposed by National Security
Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013—rendered useless the
privacy safeguards in the Safe Harbor agreement, which for years has
allowed technology companies to transfer user data across continental
But there is that "European Convention on Human Rights" - and
Next, there is first this:
director of European Affairs at the Center for Democracy and Technology
the ECJ's decision "shows the need to step up reforms of government
"The invalidation of the
Safe [Harbor] agreement should spur governments on both sides of the
Atlantic to ratchet up long-overdue reform efforts," Jeppesen said,
adding that it was "undoubtedly a major jolt for companies and will
likely adversely impact their operations."
I don't care for the
companies who got rich from doing illegal things they could,
should and did know to be illegal (and deeply
immoral). Then there is this:
But, he said, "There are
still a number of alternative options to transfer data from the EU to
the U.S. The judgement makes it clear that now national data protection
authorities can review data transfers to the U.S. in each individual
case—while the 'safe harbor' allowed for a blanket allowance."
Yes - but France just
decided that it can get all the private data of all Frenchmen; the
Dutch minister Plasterk seems to have the same inclination (all because
of "terrorism", you must understand), and there is also this, by Danny
O'Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
I quite agree (and see item 6), also because France and Holland - at least -
seem much inclined (on a governmental level, to be sure) to allowing
customer data is a legitimate target for signals
added, it will take more than better "reviews" of data transfers to
protect Europeans from mass surveillance.
The "geographic siloing of data" by itself, he argues, "is of little
practical help against mass surveillance if each and every country
feels that ordinary customer data is a legitimate target for signals
intelligence. If governments continue to permit intelligence agencies
to indiscriminately scoop up data, then they will find a way to do
that, wherever that data may be kept. Keep your data in Ireland, and
GCHQ may well target it, and pass it onto the Americans. Keep your data
in your own country, and you'll find the NSA—or other European states,
or even your own government— breaking into those systems to extract it."
Issue Warning: Pro-Corporate TPP
Could Kill the
next article today is
by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as
I agree in principle - and to
be sure, what is threatened is the survival of "the Internet as we know it", not of some "Internet" as
such, that will basically advertise everyone with interminable ads that
can't be switched off, and will scoop up any user's private data
because his or her government loves to know everything
they can get on anyone living on "their" territory.
pro-corporate trade deal finalized
Monday could kill the Internet as we know it, campaigners are warning,
as they vow to keep up the fight against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between
the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations.
"Internet users around
the world should be very concerned about this ultra-secret pact," said
OpenMedia' WTF ares digital rights specialist Meghan Sali.
"What we’re talking
about here is global Internet censorship. It will criminalize our
online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money. This
deal would never pass with the whole world watching—that’s why they’ve
negotiated it in total secrecy."
TPP opponents have claimed that under
the agreement, "Internet Service Providers could be required to
'police' user activity (i.e. police YOU), take down Internet content,
and cut people off from Internet access for common user-generated
Among the deal's
provisions are rules that could criminalize file-sharing,
digital locks, even for legitimate purposes. Of course, because the
contents of the pact have been negotiated largely in secret, the exact
implications of the TPP on user rights is yet to be seen.
The problem is that the TPP is a deep secret (which completely
invalidates its legal status for me). Well, it is partially known, and
there is this:
Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Maira Sutton wrote on Monday, "We have no
reason to believe that the TPP has improved much at all from the last
leaked version released in August, and we won't know until the U.S.
Trade Representative releases the text. So as long as it contains a retroactive
20-year copyright term extension, bans
on circumventing DRM, massively
for copyright infringement, and rules that criminalize
investigative journalists and whistleblowers, we have to do
everything we can to stop this agreement from getting signed, ratified,
and put into force."
I quite agree.
groups hail 'freedom from surveillance' in
European court's Facebook ruling
next article today is
by Sam Thielman on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
was in a rage while privacy groups were elated on Tuesday over a new
ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) affirming European
citizens’ right to privacy from American tech companies.
Why the "private
industries" - according to Wikipedia: the part that is non-
governmental, and run by private individuals - should be "in a rage", unless
they are moral degenerates who just love giving private details
to secret services completely escapes me.
This is a prominent court's ruling, after all: You may
disagree, but to claim that Europe's "private industry" is "in a rage"
is just baloney.
Then again, I checked out "Sam Thielman" (the name occurs four times in
this year's Nederlog), and I don't like his style and I think he is
Transmission of personal
data had previously been covered by a “safe harbor” agreement between
Europe and the US that allowed tech firms to share the data with
explicit consent from their customers. Businesses that operate in Europe must now make sure they are compliant
with the EU’s own laws before they subject their customers’ personal
information to laxer restrictions in the US, the court said.
Again false bullshit:
I was never asked for "explicit consent"; no
one I know of was ever asked for "explicit consent"; Max
Schermer was never asked for "explicit consent": It all happened - illegally,
based on bullshit
reasons - because there was no judgement that forbade this, while
nearly all prior attempts to force such a judgement were denied
legal access because the secret services kept things secret.
And it all happened WITHOUT "explicit consent".
The advertising industry
was not pleased. “Today’s decision by the European Court of
jeopardizes thousands of businesses across the Atlantic,” said Mike
Zaneis, executive vice-president of public policy and general counsel
for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, who called the overturned
provision “an efficient means to comply with EU privacy law”.
For me, the
"advertising industry", which consists of immoral degenerates, liars,
frauds and deceivers who sell lies and deceptions for great amounts of
money, lies once again, as nearly always. (That is also the way they
Here is the last bit,
which is a quotation, and that is - at last - good:
Evan Greer, campaign
director for internet activist group Fight for the Future, said: “The
ECJ has confirmed what the vast majority of internet users already
know: large US-based tech companies have been deeply complicit in mass
government surveillance, and have traded their users’ most basic rights
for a cozy relationship with the US government. While the discussion
around NSA spying has far too often focused only on
the rights of US citizens, the ECJ ruling is a reminder that freedom
from indiscriminate surveillance is a basic human right that should be
protected for everyone, regardless of where they live.”
Yes indeed - and
compare that with the major falsehoods that "the private
industry is in a rage" and that all these thefts happened
(bolding added) "with
explicit consent from their customers".
5. The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Permanently
Locking In The Obama Agenda For 40% Of The Global Economy
next article today is
by Washington's Blog on his blog:
This starts as follows:
We have just
witnessed one of the most significant
steps toward a one world economic system that we have ever seen.
Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership have been completed, and
if approved it will create the largest trading bloc on the
planet. But this is not just a trade agreement. In this
treaty, Barack Obama has thrown in all sorts of things that he never
would have been able to get through Congress otherwise. And once
this treaty is approved, it will be exceedingly difficult to ever make
changes to it. So essentially what is happening is that the Obama
agenda is being permanently locked in for 40 percent of the global
The United States,
Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia,
Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam all
intend to sign on to this insidious plan. Collectively, these
nations have a total population of about 800 million people and a
combined GDP of approximately 28 trillion dollars.
I say - and I agree
with Don Quijones (see October 6, 2015)
that these countries no longer have citizens but only residents.
Here is one reason
And why? Because they are
nearly all rich men, who mostly don't really care for the 99% (with a
few exceptions, to be sure: see the next paragraph), and who also are
nearly all in the pay of lobbyists.
Over the past couple of
decades, the United States has
lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities and millions of good
paying jobs due to these “free trade agreements”. As we merge our
economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay slave
labor wages, it is inevitable that corporations will shift jobs to
places where labor is much cheaper. Our economic infrastructure
is being absolutely eviscerated in the process, and very few of our
politicians seem to care.
Once upon a time, the
city of Detroit was the greatest
manufacturing city on the planet and it had the highest per capita
income in the entire nation. But today it is a rotting, decaying
hellhole that the rest of the world laughs at. What has happened
to the city of Detroit is happening to the entire nation as a whole,
but our politicians just keep pushing us even farther down the road to
Incidentally, there are exceptions, and one is Sir James
Goldsmith, who died in 1997. See the Nederlog for April 16, 2015 and also - if you have
time, but it is a very good interview of an hour - the
interview of 1994 (by Charlie Rose).
6. No Safe Harbor: How NSA Spying Undermined
U.S. Tech and Europeans’ Privacy
The last article today is
O'Brien (<- Wikipedia) from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
I found it on Raging Bull-Shit, but it originated on the site of the
This is well worth
reading completely, but I start this review with a quotation from the
European Court of Justice. This is from its press release:
The Court [states] that
legislation permitting the
public authorities to have access on a generalized basis to the content
of electronic communications must be regarded as compromising the
essence of the fundamental right to respect for private life.
Likewise, the Court
observes that legislation not
providing for any possibility for an individual to pursue legal
remedies in order to have access to personal data relating to him, or
to obtain the rectification or erasure of such data, compromises the
essence of the fundamental right to effective judicial protection, the
existence of such a possibility being inherent in the existence of the
rule of law.
I quite agree
- and I note that this is about "legislation permitting the
public authorities to have access on a generalized basis to the content
of electronic communications".
ECJ's verdict is that such legislation is itself illegal.
Next, here is Danny
O'Brien's view of what was and what was not achieved:
It will not, however,
protect their customers from mass
surveillance. The geographic siloing of data is of little practical
help against mass surveillance if each and every country feels that
ordinary customer data is a legitimate target for signals intelligence.
If governments continue to permit intelligence agencies to
indiscriminately scoop up data, then they will find a way to do that,
wherever that data may be kept.
Precisely - and to
the best of my knowledge, the French have passed a law that permits -
at least - French "intelligence
indiscriminately scoop up data" about the French, while the Dutch minister Plasterk
(from the Blatcherist
PvdA) also seems much to welcome that idea (about the Dutch).
And here is O'Brien's
judgement on what is necessary:
I agree, but given the
very strong authoritarian, anti-democratic, and pro rich present-day
politicians and governments I am fairly pessimistic.
There’s only one way
forward to end this battle in a way
that keeps the Internet open and preserves everyone’s privacy.
Countries have to make clear that mass surveillance of innocent
citizens is a violation of human rights law, whether it is conducted
inside their borders or outside, upon foreigners or residents. They
have to bring their surveillance programs, foreign and domestic, back