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Battle of the Titans – Patriot Act versus the EU concept of “Privacy by Default”


In the US, the Patriot Act reigns supreme, and forces any US based subsidiary, to breach EU law.  We have a clash of civilisations, a clash of legal systems, a clash of privacy rules.

Basically the US is saying that it’s laws, for 300 million US Citizens *WILL* trump the laws of the EU.  What might surprise a reader is that  Europe has 731 million citizens (according to the UN), which is approximately 2.5 times the number of US citizens.
I hardly think applying the Patriot Act outside of the US will work as a legal argument in a European court.

Here’s what the EU says about this conflict…

The European regulator has already been working on the new data laws with Reding, and is looking to present new legislation to the EU this summer.

“For example, a US-based social network company that has millions of active users in Europe needs to comply with EU rules,” Reding said in a statement.

She also urged member nations to equip their national data and privacy watchdogs with the necessary powers in order to keep internet companies in-check.

Among the proposed measures is ‘the right to be forgotten’, allowing users of services such as Facebook to have their personal data completely erased.

Justice commissioner Viviane Reding said that websites needed to hand back consumers the control over their data and said that privacy settings on websites should be set to ‘privacy by default’. Reding also stressed that websites should prove to their customers exactly why they need to store their data.

“To enforce the EU law, national privacy watchdogs shall be endowed with powers to investigate and engage in legal proceedings against non-EU data controllers whose services target EU consumers,” Reding added.

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