The fallout from the NSA spying scandal may be just beginning as the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution that would back the European Commission if it decides to suspend data sharing agreements with the U.S.
The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a joint, cross-party resolution to begin investigations into widespread surveillance of Europeans by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
In the vote, 483 voted for the resolution, 98 against, and 65 abstained on a vote that called on the U.S. to suspend and review any laws and surveillance programmes that “violate the fundamental right of EU citizens to privacy and data protection,” as well as Europe’s “sovereignty and jurisdiction. The vote also gave backing to the suspension of data sharing deals between the two continents, should the European Commission take action against its U.S. ally.
This would include the passenger name records system for flights and terrorist finance tracking. In other words, the Obama Administration’s rogue behavior with the NSA could lead to the loss of an ability to get information that actually matters for national security.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in a plenary session in Strasbourg voted in favor of a section of the resolution that called on the Commission to “give consideration to all the instruments at their disposal in discussions and negotiations with the U.S. [...] including the possible suspension of the passenger name record (PNR) and terrorist finance tracking programme (TFTP) agreements.”
Should the Commission decide it necessary to suspend the data sharing agreement of passenger details — including personal and sensitive individual data — it could ultimately lead to the grounding of flights between the EU and the U.S.
Grounding flights and losing access to the terrorist money trail – thanks NSA!
Ultimately it is the European Commission not the European Parliament that is responsible for taking these actions. Though this vote gives the Commission considerable cover should they want to take action. But no matter what happens, America has infuriated some of its longest standing allies. Perhaps given that the Cold War is over it is time to roll back some of the national security state to prevent disasters like we are facing today.
Image is screenshot of European Parliament live broadcast.