German data protection commissioners have sent a letter to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, asking her to urge the European Union to suspend the US – EU Safe Harbor regime because of the recently disclosed NSA activities. The letter is signed by the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Information Freedom and the State data protection commissioners. The officials argue that the European Union should suspend the Safe Harbor regime until the facts about NSA surveillance of European citizens are cleared. The official press release of the data protection commissioners expects “the Federal Government to do everything to protect the people in Germany against access to their data by third parties” and asks the Government “to negotiate a high level of data protection and regulation in Brussels which will prevent comprehensive and causeless surveillance by European and non-European authorities”. The new move could have a significant impact if it is successful: all companies relying on Safe Harbor for the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US could suddenly face a situation where either such data transfers must be suspended or face fines by data protection authorities for unlawful processing of data.

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