Unless these things (above) happen I think we (i.e. the EU parliament and EU commission, and us, as citizens, anywhere) must consider taking serious and possibly quite dramatic action to safeguard against this ‘totalitarian surveillance creep’ instigated by the U.S. government (and by extension those U.S. based technology companies that are forced to collaborate) that has come to light in the past few weeks.
Some possible actions could include:
- Review and temporarily halt the EU-US data exchange programs for travelers (PNR and TFTP), which could potentially lead to a significant disruption of commercial air traffic between the U.S. and Europe
- Cut or significantly reduce ties with U.S.based Internet service providers and shift business to providers based in Europe that are subject to European laws and explicit supervision (i.e. that can guarantee that appropriate processes and safeguards are in place)
- Slow down or even halt the upcoming Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement discussions (Yes, I know, this could be quite painful for some EU countries but … would you rather be ‘collateral damage’ now than take collective action to address longterm issues?)
- Build (or rather, unlock and make widely available) vast cloud computing facilities in Europe (this seems like a perfect business case for Switzerland -now my 2nd home-country- or Luxembourg), and switch all data from US-based centers to new facilities
- As consumers, we may need to stop using all US-based services that won’t voluntarily comply with EU data protection requirements (which seems impossible, at this point), or provide EU ‘versions’ of their services
- Offer an EU-supervised trial location to Edward Snowden (i.e. at least some temporary asylum)