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Windows News
EU Upset by Microsoft Warning About US Access to EU Cloud

Members of the European Parliament have demanded to know what lawmakers intend to do about the conflict between the European Union's Data Protection Directive and the U.S. Patriot Act.

The issue has been raised following Microsoft's admission last week that it may have to hand over European customers' data on a new cloud service to U.S. authorities. The company may also be compelled by the Patriot Act to keep details of any such data transfer secret. This is directly contrary to the European directive, which states that organizations must inform users when they disclose personal information.

"Does the Commission consider that the U.S. Patriot Act thus effectively overrules the E.U. Directive on Data Protection? What will the Commission do to remedy this situation, and ensure that E.U. data protection rules can be effectively enforced and that third country legislation does not take precedence over E.U. legislation?" asked Sophia In't Veld, a member of the Parliament's civil liberties committee.

Commissioner Viviane Reding, who is responsible for data protection, has in the past seemed to welcome a privacy protection bill introduced by senators John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, and John McCain, an Arizona Republican, as a possible solution. "I welcome a draft Bill of Rights just introduced in the U.S. Congress as a bipartisan initiative of Democrats and Republicans. The Commission also shares the main objective of the Bill: strengthening individuals' trust in new technologies through compatible standards," she said.

Microsoft can already transfer E.U. data to the U.S. under the Safe Harbor agreement. But legal experts have warned that this agreement is hardly worth the paper it's written on. There are seven principles of Safe Harbor, including reasonable data security, and clearly defined and effective enforcement. However all this is nullified if the Patriot Act is invoked.

More @ PC World


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