EU says US should use existing rules to request citizens’ data

EU vice-president and US attorney general meet in Dublin

“Instead of using the Patriot Act, we should use the rules which have been drawn up. We have a formal channel, the MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance agreement),” EU vice-president Viviane Reding said in Dublin yesterday.  Photograph: Getty Images

“Instead of using the Patriot Act, we should use the rules which have been drawn up. We have a formal channel, the MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance agreement),” EU vice-president Viviane Reding said in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Getty Images

Sat, Jun 15, 2013, 06:33


The United States should use existing legal frameworks to request European citizens’ data for criminal and terrorist investigations, EU vice-president and justice commissioner Viviane Reding told The Irish Times yesterday.

Two secret schemes, operated by the US’s National Security Agency (NSA), which gather vast amounts of phone and online data, were revealed last week by whistleblower Edward Snowden, an employee of security contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

In one scheme, millions of telephone records– but not call contents – from US network provider Verizon were made available to the agency.
The other project, codenamed Prism, involved an arrangement with online social media and communications companies, including Apple, Skype, Facebook and Google, to provide users’ personal data to the NSA.

“Instead of using the Patriot Act, we should use the rules which have been drawn up. We have a formal channel, the MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance agreement),” Ms Reding said.

Ms Reding was speaking after a meeting with US attorney general Eric Holder in Dublin yesterday. In the meeting, the US delegation had given “very clear answers” that “clarified a lot of issues”, Ms Reding said.

However, Ms Reding said she considered the responses from the US to be “the first step” and many “open questions” still needed to be answered .This would entail US and EU “experts on security and data protection sitting together”.