Tuesday, April 08, 2014

OpenStack 04/08/2014 (p.m.)

  • High comedy from the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The USTR's press release is here along with a link to its report. http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/press-releases/2014/March/USTR-Targets-Telecommunications-Trade-Barriers The USTR is upset because the E.U. is aiming to build a digital communications network that does not route internal digital traffic outside the E.U., to limit the NSA's ability to surveil Europeans' communications. Part of the plan is to build an E.U.-centric cloud that is not susceptible to U.S. court orders. This plan does not, of course, sit well with U.S.-based cloud service providers.  Where the comedy comes in is that the USTR is making threats to go to the World Trade organization to block the E.U. move under the authority of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). But that treaty provides, in article XIV, that:  "Subject to the requirement that such measures are not applied in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries where like conditions prevail, or a disguised restriction on trade in services, nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to prevent the adoption or enforcement by any Member of measures: ... (c)      necessary to secure compliance with laws or regulations which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Agreement including those relating to:   ... (ii)     the protection of the privacy of individuals in relation to the processing and dissemination of personal data and the protection of confidentiality of individual records and accounts[.]" http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/26-gats_01_e.htm#articleXIV   The E.U., in its Treaty on Human Rights, has very strong privacy protections for digital communications. The USTR undoubtedly knows all this, and that the WTO Appellate Panel's judges are of the European mold, sticklers for protection of human rights and most likely do not appreciate being subjects of NSA surveillance themselves. So the USTR's cries of discrimination are no more than propaganda to placate the American cloud service providers. "See? We're right on this problem." Not.  But it's really fun to fantasize about the U.S. walking into that meat shredder to face the iron-clad proof that NSA is subject to no legal constraints when it comes to foreign citizens. But it ain't going to happen. 

    Tags: surveillance state, NSA, EU, EU-cloud, USTR, WTO, digital-privacy

    • The United States on Friday criticized proposals to build a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States, warning that such rules could breach international trade laws.

      In its annual review of telecommunications trade barriers, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said impediments to cross-border data flows were a serious and growing concern.

      It was closely watching new laws in Turkey that led to the blocking of websites and restrictions on personal data, as well as calls in Europe for a local communications network following revelations last year about U.S. digital eavesdropping and surveillance.

      "Recent proposals from countries within the European Union to create a Europe-only electronic network (dubbed a 'Schengen cloud' by advocates) or to create national-only electronic networks could potentially lead to effective exclusion or discrimination against foreign service suppliers that are directly offering network services, or dependent on them," the USTR said in the report.

    • Germany and France have been discussing ways to build a European network to keep data secure after the U.S. spying scandal. Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone was reportedly monitored by American spies.

      The USTR said proposals by Germany's state-backed Deutsche Telekom to bypass the United States were "draconian" and likely aimed at giving European companies an advantage over their U.S. counterparts.

      Deutsche Telekom has suggested laws to stop data traveling within continental Europe being routed via Asia or the United States and scrapping the Safe Harbor agreement that allows U.S. companies with European-level privacy standards access to European data. (www.telekom.com/dataprotection)

      "Any mandatory intra-EU routing may raise questions with respect to compliance with the EU's trade obligations with respect to Internet-enabled services," the USTR said. "Accordingly, USTR will be carefully monitoring the development of any such proposals."

    • U.S. tech companies, the leaders in an e-commerce marketplace estimated to be worth up to $8 trillion a year, have urged the White House to undertake reforms to calm privacy concerns and fend off digital protectionism.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

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