YTN: EU-U.S. Clash on Data Privacy: Transatlantic Perspectives
The Berlin chapter of the German Marshall Fund’s Young Transatlantic Network organized a panel discussion on U.S. and European perspectives on digital privacy issues, featuring Neema Singh Guliani, Legislative Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington D.C. and Isabel Skierka, Research Associate at the Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute, as guest speakers. Sven Peters, GMF’s Systems Administrator, moderated the discussion.
The starting point for the evening’s discussion was the recent Safe Harbor ruling and the reactions it elicited from citizens and companies on both sides of the Atlantic. While both EU and U.S. officials are concerned about the tradeoff between security and privacy, there seems to be a more “panicked” feeling in Europe, where privacy is enshrined as a fundamental right. The speakers addressed the newest revelations regarding alleged German spying activities against the background of Snowden’s revelations two years ago, and whether this would impact transatlantic data flows. Several policy options were discussed, including the growing trend of data encryption. Along broader lines of discussion, Guliani and Skierka agreed that data localization makes little sense in a world where data and business flows are global. While a “clash” was not really evident during the course of the evening, the real tension appears to lie between finding a global approach to digital issues and existing narrow national perspectives.