Peter Swire, Alston & Bird Senior Counsel and professor at Georgia Institute of Technology Scheller College of Business, has released a new white paper through the Future of Privacy Forum titled “U.S. Surveillance Law, Safe Harbor, and Reforms Since 2013.” The paper is a submission to a forum sponsored by the Belgian Privacy Commission on “the consequences of the judgment in the Schrems case.” The October Schrems decision by the European Court of Justice invalidated the U.S.-E.U. Safe Harbor framework and has been previously discussed here.
Swire’s new white paper disputes the ECJ’s characterization of the U.S. as failing to ensure “a level of protection of fundamental rights essentially equivalent to that guaranteed in the E.U. legal order.” Swire argues for the “essential equivalence” of U.S. and E.U. legal systems in their protection of fundamental rights, pointing to the “strict rule of law, separation of powers, and judicial oversight of law enforcement and national security surveillance in the U.S.”
The white paper also addresses certain European perceptions about U.S. national surveillance practices and law. Contrary to the Advocate General’s Schrems opinion (which described the NSA as having “unrestricted access to mass data”), Swire highlights that only a “tiny fraction” of EU internet users have been targeted by NSA surveillance activities. In addition, Swire’s paper notes for European regulators the “two dozen significant reforms to surveillance law and practice” since 2013.
The complete white paper is available for download here.