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Commission wants to extend law for police data access to the US

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:08
The European Commission hopes to set an international standard with its upcoming proposal to give police easier access to data from tech companies, and has already asked the United States to cooperate. A senior Commission official said that the EU executive offered US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider an EU-US arrangement that would allow police to ask for data even if companies are located in other jurisdictions. EU officials made that proposal in June, during a joint EU-US justice ministerial meeting in Malta, but have not yet received a response from Sessions’ office. The Commission will propose new rules on the access to so-called e-evidence at the end of January 2018 that will apply within the EU, and make it faster and easier for law enforcement authorities to obtain data from other member states. That proposal is still being drafted, but the Commission is already eyeing a similar arrangement that would extend beyond the EU. “I can’t imagine that we would find something that would be limited to the EU space because that would be not efficient,” Renate Nikolay, the head of cabinet to EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, said on Thursday (9 November). Nikolay was speaking in Brussels at a conference organised by the International Association of Privacy Professionals. She said the January proposal will be a first step within the EU as part of the bloc’s security union. Nikolay called the EU’s tough safeguards on data protection a model for how the Commission might have enough leverage to eventually seal such an agreement with the US. Strict new data protection rules will go into effect next year in the EU, and will also apply to companies that could be based in other countries but operate inside the bloc. As a result, the law has raised pressure on firms outside the EU. Several other countries have even taken on parts of Europe’s regulation in their national rules. “We have to set a pace here, very much also building on what we have done in the GDPR [the new data protection law]. We are well equipped in Europe to actually set standards and we will do that also on electronic evidence,” she said. The Commission has argued that the upcoming proposal on e-evidence is needed because police often struggle to quickly receive data from other member states. Many big technology companies are based in the US, but Nikolay said the EU law will remove barriers that already exist within the bloc. “Sometimes time matters,” she said. “We are talking about the new phenomenon of electronic evidence becoming more relevant in criminal proceedings, regardless of whether they are purely national criminal proceedings. Just because the data might be elsewhere. It can be just a local case in a village somewhere in Slovakia and, nevertheless, the cross-border element can be there.” Nikolay told the conference that there are hurdles slowing down police access to e-evidence that are “not addressed at all with the tools we have at our disposal at the moment”. The Commission is still weighing how police will obtain access to data. One option that the EU executive outlined included direct access between law enforcement authorities in one member state and tech firms. In addition, the Commission is also considering whether the content of communications or, for example, metadata, which includes when an electronic message might be sent and to whom, will fall under the new law. Nikolay said the rules should be “as broad as possible” regarding data. The proposal will also specify the kinds of services that must comply with the rules, which could mean regular phone calls and text messages, or data from digital services and communications apps. Nikolay said the law will include sanctions if companies do not hand over data to police. Some tech firms have argued the new proposal could clarify rules and replace more cumbersome legal methods for police to request data. John Frank, Microsoft’s head of EU affairs, said an e-evidence law within the EU would be helpful. He favours an international agreement to deal with police requests from outside the bloc. “The best way for the EU and the US to get an agreement is for the US to realise it needs an agreement because it doesn’t have access to data in Europe,” Frank said, speaking on the panel with Nikolay. Microsoft has been at the centre of a drawn-out fight over police access to data. The firm won a case against the US federal government, which tried to use a search warrant to obtain data from a Microsoft server in Ireland. The government has appealed to the Supreme Court. But the Commission’s planned proposal has also sparked concerns among privacy advocates. Campaigners have warned against any new rules that could allow police to request data directly from companies. Instead, they want the EU executive to reform existing mutual legal assistance treaties so law enforcement authorities in different countries can transfer data more quickly. Those MLAT agreements are often criticised for being too slow. "The only way to credibly propose any legislation in this area is to address MLAT reform first; not to find ways to bypass them,” Maryant Fernández Pérez, a policy advisor at the NGO European Digital Rights, told EURACTIV.com.
Categories: EurActiv

EU concerned about slow-moving Brexit talks

Fri, 2017-11-10 06:02
The EU warned Britain on Thursday (9 November) that time is running out to reach a divorce deal by the end of the month, a necessary step to guarantee moving the Brexit process on to trade negotiations.
Categories: EurActiv

Developing countries say rich nations shirking on climate

Fri, 2017-11-10 03:25
The failure of wealthy nations to deliver on short-term climate commitments could hinder the rollout of a landmark treaty, a bloc of 134 developing countries, including India and China, warned Thursday (9 November) at UN negotiations in Bonn. The diplomatic spat has underscored the difficulty of reaching a consensus at the 196-nation talks. “If we […]
Categories: EurActiv

The Brief, powered by Eni – So much for science-based policy-making

Thu, 2017-11-09 16:58
Member states met today to decide the fate of glyphosate, the most used weed killer in the world and Europe. But the decision was  postponed for the seventh time and the ball is now back in the Commission's court once again. Is there even an end in sight to this whole sorry affair?
Categories: EurActiv

European economy beats expectations as risks decline

Thu, 2017-11-09 16:26
The European economy is enjoying a period of positive momentum as growth spreads across all member states, public accounts are expected to look healthier and risks are balanced for the first time in a long while, the European Commission concluded on Thursday (9 November).
Categories: EurActiv

Mr Altmaier goes to Europe

Thu, 2017-11-09 15:04
At the start of this week, Eurogroup and ECOFIN met in Brussels. Interim Finance Minister Peter Altmaier attended the meetings on behalf of Germany for the first time. The talks focused on the banking union, fiscal policy and the Paradise Papers. EURACTIV Germany has an overview.
Categories: EurActiv

European industry counterattacks against Argentine biodiesel

Thu, 2017-11-09 13:03
A group representing European biodiesel producers filed a complaint about illegal state aid with the European Commission on 3 November. EURACTIV France reports.
Categories: EurActiv

Nick Clegg warns of ‘lack of coherence’ in post-Brexit UK development action

Thu, 2017-11-09 12:33
Britain’s commitment to development spending will give way to short-term geopolitics as “Brexit points the UK towards a friendless future,” the country’s former Deputy PM Nick Clegg has warned.
Categories: EurActiv

36 ‘Youth Fellows’ generate ideas for EU-Africa summit

Thu, 2017-11-09 12:22
The 5th AU-EU Summit, to take place in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, on 29-30 November 2017, focuses on "Investing in Youth for a Sustainable Future". An initiative called “AU-EU Youth Plug-In Initiative” (YPII) supports 36 young people (“Youth Fellows”) in elaborating concrete proposals for European and African leaders. EURACTIV.com spoke to one of them.
Categories: EurActiv

EU to sign joint defence pact in show of post-Brexit unity

Thu, 2017-11-09 12:22
At least 20 members of the European Union will next week sign up to a new defence pact, heavily promoted by France and Germany, to fund and develop joint military hardware in a show of unity following Britain's decision to quit the bloc.
Categories: EurActiv

Emissions trading deal fails to impress

Thu, 2017-11-09 12:18
EU negotiators from member states and the institutions reached a compromise on an Emissions Trading System (ETS) reform early on Thursday (9 November). But green groups have criticised the deal for ditching flagship climate policy status for a fossil fuel subsidy.
Categories: EurActiv

Market disruption fears grow as glyphosate ban looms

Thu, 2017-11-09 12:07
The Standing Committee on Plant Animal Food and Feed met today (9 November) to discuss renewing the approval of the active substance glyphosate, which is produced by Monsanto and others, but no qualified majority among member states was reached again.
Categories: EurActiv

Brexit talks resume, slow progress set to cause delays in roadmap

Thu, 2017-11-09 12:01
Britain and the EU opened another round of slow-moving divorce talks on Thursday (9 November) amid growing signs that a decision to start discussions on post-Brexit trade and customs ties, which London wants to tackle as soon as possible, could be postponed until next year.
Categories: EurActiv

Bloomberg pledges $50m to help Europe bin coal

Thu, 2017-11-09 11:17
US billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg has promised $50m to the international effort to scrap coal power, following a similar domestic campaign that has seen 50% of American coal plants close since 2011.
Categories: EurActiv

Malta in hot water over trapping of protected birds

Thu, 2017-11-09 11:17
Malta opened its wild bird trapping season in October, disregarding its EU accession promise to outlaw the practice and a pending case at the European Court of Justice.
Categories: EurActiv

Experts slam Mogherini for failing to counter hybrid threat from Russia

Thu, 2017-11-09 11:10
Sixty-five European security experts and parliamentarians from 21 countries have signed a declaration explicitly naming EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini for not doing what she should do to name Russia “as the main source of hostile disinformation” and for not taking adequate counter-measures.
Categories: EurActiv

Commission conducting review of all foreign data transfer deals

Thu, 2017-11-09 07:05
The European Commission is reviewing the 12 data transfer agreements it has with countries outside the bloc, as part of a scrutiny process that could potentially result in the deals being axed.
Categories: EurActiv

Lithuania taps up Commission for more nuclear decommissioning funds

Thu, 2017-11-09 06:52
Lithuania is in the middle of decommissioning an unsafe Soviet-era nuclear power plant and its energy minister last week courted EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger for more financial support after 2020.
Categories: EurActiv

Climate change and local government: Leading the charge in Europe

Thu, 2017-11-09 06:51
The mantra of the green movement used to be ‘think globally, act locally’. As the latest round of the UN climate talks begins in Bonn this week, those leading the European Union’s delegation would do well to remember these words, writes Stefano Bonaccini.
Categories: EurActiv

Borissov asks Juncker who are EU’s enemies, gets compliments instead

Thu, 2017-11-09 06:46
EURACTIV asked Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker what are the geopolitical risks for the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Borissov said he had asked the same question to Juncker, but apparently obtained no answer.
Categories: EurActiv

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