Transatlantic Dialogue: Intelligence Sharing and Data Privacy
On May 8, 2015, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) had the honor of hosting Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and his colleagues, Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), from the U.S. House of Representatives; Chairman David Medine and Rachel Brand of the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB); and Members of the German Bundestag for a dialogue on intelligence sharing and data privacy. Against the backdrop of current allegations that the NSA and German Foreign Intelligence (BND) cooperation doesn’t abide by the German constitution, the lawmakers from both sides of the Atlantic and PCLOB representatives had a frank discussion about striking the balance between privacy and security. Comments were exchanged on how oversight functions in the German parliament and U.S. Congress and ideas were shared on ensuring checks and balances in the realm of data protection. While differences in philosophies based on historic experiences remain, the German and American lawmakers present agreed that a close partnership is crucial for ensuring security in their respective countries. It was also recognized that the need to regain citizens’ trust is crucial and that cooperation between Germany and the United States is essential for facing mutual threats. All the participants envision further meetings with one another to continue the dialogue.