On Tuesday October 6, one of the biggest mind-shifts in online data and technology this decade finally came to pass via an EU court ruling. This ruling will have serious repercussions for both US consumers and all US intelligence agencies, and nobody over here has said peep about it.
HA!! This is wonderful! This is titanic! This is… well, kinda hard to explain.
OK, supposing you move into a new neighborhood. Walking in the door, you meet a fellow named “Bo” who lives across the street in a funny looking house.
For the most part, Bo seems friendly. He mentions he has a cousin in another far away city named “Luke” who also sounds just as friendly.
A few months into living in the city, Bo makes a copy of your house key and takes it to Luke.
Luke uses the key to open your front door to your home and takes your TV.
Luke gives your TV to Bo.
When you confront Luke, he says since he lives in another city the local laws in your town do not apply to him and he wasn’t breaking any laws in his town. Luke also says Bo gave him the key directly and said he could do whatever he wanted with whatever he found inside. Luke insists he has no idea what he was doing was wrong. You need to take it up with Bo.
When you confront Bo, he says he didn’t steal your TV and never touched your TV. Bo says he had no idea Luke was going to do what he did, and is shocked you have the nerve to accuse your neighbor of such a terrible thing. You need to take it up with Luke.
Ridiculous, right? A cheap shell game from two obvious criminals no police officer, DA or judge would let fly.
Here’s the catch – the part of Bo and Luke are being played by the US government and certain governments in the EU. They were (NOTE: probably still are) doing the exact same thing with our data.
The US gave access to overseas intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on our conversations and bypass encryptions, and then the overseas intelligence agencies told the US agencies what information they found.
Technically the US didn’t steal the information or eavesdrop on our conversations. Technically the overseas intelligence agencies didn’t break any of their own laws in the process.
Finally, with this EU court ruling, part of this “technically” foolishness was brought to a screeching stop.
This epic win for privacy and the upholding of constitutional law is all thanks to Austrian lawyer Max Schrems, who brought the lawsuit “against Facebook in 2013 for participation in US mass surveillance.”
I’m going to have to add Max Schrems to my Christmas card list. Like, forever.
Now, companies’ (and probably certain governments’) “ability to pool data from both sides of the Atlantic for analysis will be affected”.
Will this ruling actually change anything?
“The ruling basically says US surveillance cannot be allowed to override our fundamental rights, but US law says surveillance must override fundamental rights… The EU court is largely saying that indiscriminate gathering of data is enough to interfere with fundamental rights, and therefore you shouldn’t be able to do it.”
“US companies that obviously aided US mass surveillance may face serious legal consequences from this ruling when data protection authorities of 28 member states review their cooperation with US spy agencies”.