Report on the findings by EU Co-chairs of ad hoc EU-US Working Group on Data Protection

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 28, 2013

Report on the findings by the EU Co-chairs of the ad hoc EU-US Working Group on Data Protection. Council of the European Union, Brussels, 27 November 2013.

“Under US law, a number of legal bases allow large-scale collection and processing, for foreign intelligence purposes, including counter-terrorism, of personal data that has been transferred to the US or is processed by US companies. The US has confirmed the existence and the main elements of certain aspects of these programmes, under which data collection and processing is done with a basis in US law that lays down specific conditions and safeguards. Other elements remain unclear, including the number of EU citizens affected by these surveillance programmes and the geographical scope of surveillance programmes under Section 702…Various layers of oversight by the three branches of Government apply to activities on the base of Section 215 and Section 702. There is judicial oversight for activities that imply a capacity to compel information, including FISC orders for the collection under Section 215 and annual certifications that provide the basis for collection under Section 702. There is no judicial approval of individual selectors to query the data collected under Section 215 or tasked for collection under Section 702. The FISC operates ex parte and in camera. Its orders and opinions are classified, unless they are declassified. There is no judicial oversight of the collection of foreign intelligence outside the US under Executive Order 12333, which are conducted under the sole competence of the Executive Branch.”

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