ECJ Advocate General: EU-US safe harbours invalid

The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice, Yves Bot, has just released an opinion finding that the EU-US data protection ‘safe harbour’ framework is invalid.  In his view, “the law and practice of the United States allow the large-scale collection of the personal data of citizens of the EU which is transferred, without those citizens benefiting from effective judicial protection.”

The AG also considers that the access enjoyed by the United States intelligence services to the transferred data constitutes an “interference with the right to respect for private life and the right to protection of personal data, which is guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.”  That interference with the fundamental rights is contrary to the principle of proportionality, in particular “because the surveillance carried out by the United States intelligence services is mass, indiscriminate surveillance.”

The AG’s opinion is not a binding decision.  The Court of Justice of the European Union may yet choose not to follow the Advocate General’s opinion.

Link: ECJ Press Release