The new US interest in Europeans‘ privacy

Thanks to Edward Snowden, the EU-US negotiations on an agreement to protect individuals’ private data finally get into gear. The talks started in 2011, but 15 negotiating rounds have not lead anywhere until the NSA’s massive espionage activities were revealed.

A personal experience may illustrate how lukewarm the US interest in protecting the data of Europeans has been. At the RSA conference 2012 in San Francisco I had the chance of interviewing the cybersecurity coordinator of the Obama administration, Howard Schmidt, nicknamed „cyber czar“. When I asked him about the reasons why the privacy talks between the EU and the US were plodding along for such a long time, he refused to answer because he was not part of the negotiating team. Formally, this was a correct reaction, but I was surprised considering the emphasis on protecting privacy on the former cybersecurity website of the White House. Apparently, international data protection was not really a top priority of the US government at that time…

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