European Union seeks power to seize overseas personal data from customers of Apple, Microsoft, other tech firms

“The European Union is preparing legislation to force companies to turn over customers’ personal data when requested even if it is stored on servers outside the bloc, a position that will put Europe at loggerheads with tech giants and privacy campaigners,” Julia Fioretti reports for Reuters. “The EU executive has previously indicated it wanted law enforcement authorities to be able to access electronic evidence stored within the 28-nation bloc. But the scope of the planned legislation will extend to data held elsewhere, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.”

“The EU push comes as a landmark legal battle in the United States nears its climax. The U.S. Supreme Court will this week hear oral arguments in a case pitting Microsoft against U.S. prosecutors, who are trying to force the company to turn over emails stored on its servers in Ireland in connection with a drug-trafficking investigation,” Fioretti reports. “Campaigners say giving governments so-called extra-territorial authority to reach across borders and access data would erode individuals’ privacy rights. Technology firms like Microsoft, Apple and IBM say it would undermine consumer trust in cloud services.”

“The planned law, which would apply to all companies around the world that do business in the European Union, is an apparent shift in position for the European Commission, the EU executive, which has stood on the side of privacy advocates in the past,” Fioretti reports. “The proposed law would apply to the personal data of people of all nationalities, not just EU citizens, as long as they were linked to a European investigation, one of the sources said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is what happens when countries cede their sovereignty to a quasi-governmental political confederation.

Give ’em and inch and they’ll try to take a mile.

The EU’s wish to become Oceania couldn’t be more obvious.

Apple: Privacy is a fundamental right – September 27, 2017
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
Tim Cook gets privacy and encryption: We shouldn’t surrender them to Google – June 4, 2015
Tim Cook attacks Google, U.S. federal government over right to privacy abuses – June 3, 2015
The price you’ll pay for Google’s ‘free’ photo storage – June 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook champions privacy, blasts ‘so-called free services’ – June 3, 2015
How Google aims to delve deeper into users’ lives – May 29, 2015
Apple CEO Cook: Unlike some other companies, Apple won’t invade your right to privacy – March 2, 2015
Survey: People trust U.S. NSA more than Google – October 29, 2014
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
U.S. NSA watching, tracking phone users with Google Maps – January 28, 2014
U.S. NSA secretly infiltrated Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – October 30, 2013
Google has already inserted some U.S. NSA code into Android – July 10, 2013
Court rules NSA doesn’t have to reveal its semi-secret relationship with Google – May 22, 2013


    1. The EU may go overboard on some things. But so does the U.S. and other countries. Frankly, given the current administration, I believe that the EU is functioning far better than the U.S.

      The U.S. began a precipitous political slide after the SCOTUS decided that Corporations are People, Money is Speech, and Speech includes Voting. Therefore Corporations have the right to spend money to influence (control) voting. In combination with the SuperPacs and political gerrymandering, this constitutes one of the biggest threats to democracy in my lifetime. Effectively, we have a new, legal class of corporate and uber-rich overlords who decide the laws of our land.

      Hello! The late 1700s is back and it is time to consider the appropriate public response (reference the Declaration of Independence).

    2. Are you all aware that the US Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments today in Microsoft Corp. v. United States, a suit to force a cloud storage company to comply with a US Government warrant for data in Ireland? The EU is just seeking reciprocity.

  1. Total control.
    That is and has been the plan from the beginning. The EU and whoever is behind it are getting a bit restless and moving quicker than normal. Usually they move at a generational pace. So we now see what they really want.
    More countries need to leave the EU to cripple it.

  2. Legislation, what a refreshing idea, sure beats the approach of Apple’s home nation who has for years tried to hack into Apple.

    Of course this might be exactly what the EU wants, after all Apple’s home nation will want a monopoly on seizing personal data so they will probably deal with this in the only way they know how, with war. And it will be so easy to take on Oceania, all they have to do is shoot their nukes straight up into the air to destroy Oceania.

  3. Technology firms like Microsoft, Apple and IBM say it would undermine consumer trust in cloud services.

    What trust? My documents, pictures, calendars, and music are local. Sync occurs through my Mac Mini. I have 4.99 Gb available of my iCloud storage. Backups are kept at two different geographical sites.

  4. Hi,

    this proposal has nothing to do with giving up national sovereignty as it only reflects the general feeling within many European member states themselves that internet needs more regulation – as fallacious as the assumption that this will increase security may be. But I am a really strong advocate of the EU as an institution as it probably is the explanation of all these post WWII decades of peace and economic welfare. And if you are suggesting more countries should follow the Brexit example, just let’s talk about that in 10 years’ time and see where the UK will really be after Brexit. Brexit is an idea set up by narcisstic politicians à la Johnson who dream of past grandeur forever gone. It is really sad to see populism driving respected nations against the wall.

  5. This just follows the anti Constitutionists that thrive in America, in particular the Left. They want an all-powerful centralized super-state that decides everything, and taxes its citizens into the ground while over-spending year after year and handing future generations more and more burdens.

    Stop it.

  6. This bold, brazen initiative is simply a battle in the global war waged between the US National Security Police Spy State Apparatus and the EU National Security Police Spy State Apparatus for dominance over the West’s serfs but also the world’s serfs. Just as the spread of technology can’t be contained, so methods of oppression can’t either. This makes the EU complicit with the US. That one or the other objects to a particular data point of the other does not mean that they wage any real, significant war on the other; Their collective focus is always on the 3rd party made up of the majority of the world’s population, workers. Make no mistake about this.

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