EU to enter talks with US over data sharing and privacy protection

Talks which will determine the way in which private data is handled and secured by the European Union (EU) and the US, in the fight against international organised crime and terrorism, are set to begin.

The procession towards the talks was put in motion by the European Commission (EC) back in May this year and the goal is to ensure that the storage, transfer and use of data enacted as part of the collaborative partnership, will be secure and respectful of basic rights.

While the authorities from many international countries will gain access to various types of data, more power will be given to individual citizens within the EU, allowing people to access any data which relates to them and delete entries after a given time period, to help protect their privacy without compromising national security.

VP of the EC Viviane Reding said that EU citizens have a right to see that their personal data is properly secured. She also explained that now the negotiations can get underway and the EU will do its best to ensure that the cooperation with the US does not directly contravene any of these basic rights relating to personal data.

This week the first leg of talks will begin in Washington. It was the September 11th attacks of 2001 which meant that the US and EU collaborated more closely on sharing data to fight terrorism, but recently a campaign to better protect the rights of individuals in relation to this sharing, meant that the EU has sought to redress the way in which US agencies can access and use this data.

The EC said that it hopes to unify the way in which data is protected on both sides of the Atlantic and make sure that EU inhabitants will be able to take action based on the regulations relating to data protection wherever their personal information is stored and used.

The talks will be a step in the right direction, but the EC has said that each data transfer will be treated individually and require a specific legal basis in each case.

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