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TTIP Update XV

ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - When it became clear that the EU and US were planning to start negotiations for what would be the world's largest free trade agreement, people naturally started analysing its various aspects and possibilities. This formed a kind of conceptual framework for TTIP/TAFTA. But in a nice demonstration of the fact that it's foolish to think that those frameworks are anything more than contingent and provisional, Edward Snowden's revelations about massive spying by the NSA (with quite a lot of help from GCHQ) has introduced an important new element.

Although there was some talk of cancelling the negotiations completely in the wake of the leaks, that was never a realistic possibility given the vested interests here. But as Snowden's documents have continued to appear, each one filling out the picture of total online surveillance, so the anger has been building up in Europe. One manifestation of that came in a speech from Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, and EU Justice Commissioner, who said:

data protection is a fundamental right. The reason for this is rooted in our historical experience with dictatorships from the right and from the left of the political spectrum. They have led to a common understanding in Europe that privacy is an integral part of human dignity and personal freedom. Control of every movement, every word or every e-mail made for private purposes is not compatible with Europe's fundamental values or our common understanding of a free society.

She then went on to make the following significant call: