U.S.-EU: Security vs. Privacy Redux

I’ve mentioned on a few occasions now the dramatic difference between European and American public opinion on the security vs. privacy balance. The latest example comes from Germany, where the constitutional court struck down a law requiring telecom companies to save customer phone and internet data for six months, due to privacy concerns.

What’s interesting here is that the national law that was struck down was mandated by an EU directive that allowed for saving the data for up to 24 months. The assumption is that the U.S. gets better data-sharing deals in Europe on a bilateral level than EU-wide, but as demonstrated here, that’s not always the case. Although it’s unclear the degree to which the saved data was subject to sharing, this follows the general pattern that the more transparent the deals are, the more privacy concerns take priority, on both the national and EU-wide level.

Meanwhile, the next test case comes today, when the EU parliament begins oversight on a U.S.-EU data-sharing agreement on airline passenger records.