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    New York Times: Europe Moves to Shield Citizens’ Data

    The New York Times reports on proposed legislation in the European Parliament that would protect the private information of EU citizens:

    BRUSSELS — Lawmakers here have introduced a measure in the European Parliament that could require American companies like Google and Yahoo to seek clearance from European officials before complying with United States warrants seeking private data.

    The measure, an amendment to a broader electronic privacy law pending in Parliament, is a response to Prism, the secret spying program led by the National Security Agency that came to light in June. Europeans were outraged by the revelations that some of the biggest American Internet companies, many of whose users live in Europe, were required by the United States authorities to share information in e-mail, Web searches and other online data.

    Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs may vote on the amendment as soon as Monday, said Jan Philipp Albrecht, the German member who is responsible for steering the legislation through the Parliament. […]

    But a European Union official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the vote could be further delayed if the United States intervened or if there was heavy lobbying by tech industry groups that oppose the bill.

    The American government successfully lobbied against a similar move by European officials two years ago. The reports about the N.S.A.’s activities gave European privacy rights proponents new incentive to pursue the matter again. […]

    The measure would obligate companies not based in the European Union to nonetheless comply with European data protection rules if they operate in Europe. Violators could face fines of as much as 5 percent of a company’s global annual revenue. […]

    Even if the new rules are approved, existing bilateral agreements between individual European governments and the United States might keep data flowing across the Atlantic as part of efforts to fight terror and crime.

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