May 20, 2015
By SafeGov Contributor, Bryan Cunningham.
A strange — and strangely unnoticed — trend is emerging in the evolving global response to massive 2013 leaks about US surveillance activities. While our European cousins talk privacy reform, the United States is actually moving ahead with it, albeit more slowly than many would like. As the American side of the Atlantic inches toward self-restraint, many European governments are seeking sweeping new spying powers. Europe is at risk of falling behind the US in privacy reform.
Following two post-Snowden reviews of US surveillance activities, the United States announced new limitations to its electronic surveillance activities, including additional privacy protections for Europeans and other non-US citizens, which few European countries currently afford Americans. Much-criticized US surveillance activities, including the bulk telephone metadata program, are set to expire in days unless Congress intervenes. Meanwhile, the bipartisan Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Overseas (LEADS) Act and similar draft laws are moving through Congress and garnering broad support from technology companies, business organizations, and privacy and civil liberties advocacy groups.
Meanwhile, across the pond, key European Union member states, some harshly critical of US spying, are seeking dramatically enhanced surveillance powers in the wake of the horrific Charlie Hebdo attacks in January.
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Bryan Cunningham is an information security, privacy, and data protection lawyer with Cunningham Levy LLP, and a senior advisor of The Chertoff Group, a global security advisory firm that advises clients on cyber security.safegoveu