The US govt has failed to satisfy the European Union’s queries with regard to the Yahoo email scanning scandal which surfaced in November last year. The EU has expressed its displeasure over the same.
EU executives had sought clarifications regarding Yahoo’s alleged real-time scanning of emails containing certain keywords (related to possible terrorism links) at the behest of the US authorities, namely by a secret court order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The EU is very much worried about the privacy of the European user’s data stored on American servers, particularly since the scandal raised a lot of public eyebrows all over Europe.
I am not satisfied because to my taste the answer came relatively late and relatively general, and I will make clear at the first possible opportunity to the American side that this is not how we understand good, quick and full exchange of information.
EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said in an interview with Reuters.
I understand that the American side, when it comes to national security issues, cannot be fully concrete,
She added. However, she went on to state that she does expect answers to basic questions as to what prompted US to ask Yahoo to scan emails for them.
Earlier, Yahoo had not out rightly denied the charges; instead it had just issued a press release stating the report was ‘misleading.’
The EU had alleged that Yahoo had violated the terms of the Privacy Shield agreement, which restricts the American government’s access to European data on US servers. The transatlantic agreement, a successor the Safe Harbor regime which lasted for about 15 years, is supposed to ensure that personal information of citizens is protected as per EU standards when it is sent to the US.
The Safe Harbor deal was struck down after it was declared invalid by by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) following a complaint by privacy activist Max Schrems. The Privacy Shield agreement creates a new “Ombudsperson” to deal with complaints from Europeans about how their data has been used by the NSA.
The future for this agreement too looked bleak right from the start; it faced skepticism for bringing about little changes to the rights of European citizens, as per privacy activists. It faced uncertainty regarding it’s own preparedness against legal action and was claimed to be ‘ineffective’ unless necessary reforms were brought about in the US laws.