The EU just defended us from Facebook snooping, will Cameron opt out of that?

Support us and go ad-free

A recent European Court of Justice (CJEU) decision has forced the Irish authorities to investigate a Facebook privacy complaint, which it had previously dismissed. The fact that the EU can protect our rights is a benefit that should feature heavily in the current debate on the UK’s membership.

Earlier this month the CJEU ruled that the Safe Harbor agreement – the legal framework for the transfer of data between the EU and US – is invalid as it does not adequately ensure its citizen’s privacy is protected from US snooping. The case was transferred to the CJEU after initially being brought against Facebook in Ireland – where their European headquarters are based – by Austrian law student Max Schrems.

He initiated the case after Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, arguing they proved that US companies handling EU data could not protect it from NSA spying. The case was thrown out by the Irish data protection watchdog. However, their refusal to proceed with the case was based on the validity of the Safe Harbour agreement. With that agreement now invalid, they are obliged to investigate Schrems’ claims.

That EU citizens have recourse when an initial authority rejects their case is something we should value.

It has proved essential in ensuring justice is served in cases where our own governments fall short. Such as in the forced labour case of C.N v UK, which led to the 2015 Modern Slavery Act. This argument is often lacking in the current conversation on EU membership, where the terms of debate are largely set by the powers that be – and their own agendas.

What our leaders want

George Osborne seems focused on EU economic reforms, as one would expect from a chancellor.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

However, his agreement with Mark Carney’s disapproval of a single regulator for Eurozone banks – which would likely balk at his recent softening of financial regulation – does little for citizens. His fervent opposition to a cap on bankers’ bonuses is also indicative that he has the City of London at the forefront of his mind.

Extraordinarily, some of David Cameron’s priorities even seem at odds with the interests of his citizens.

It is widely reported that he would like to opt out of EU employment law, particularly the Working Time Directive, an initiative that ensures working conditions don’t have an adverse effect on our health and safety. This would face fierce opposition from unions because it could affect employee rights in relation to working hours, breaks and holiday entitlement.

What the people need

We need to think seriously about what we gain from the EU as well as what we lose. Euroscepticism exists, partly due to misguided immigration fears and anger at the EU seemingly crippling already injured members.

But there are many benefits, and they normally represent the interests of citizens, specifically in terms of our rights.

A fundamental right to privacy, family, and expression are just a few of many obligations our government has to us under the European Convention on Human Rights, and being a member of the EU ensures we must adhere to it’s principles.

With the Conservative government weighing the option of scrapping the Human Rights Act, do we really want to surrender the potential of recourse elsewhere?

Featured image via Flickr Creative Commons/Flickr Creative Commons

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed