In a resolution passed on Tuesday (13 October), MEPs called on the European Commission to do more to protect citizens' rights, following Edward Snowden's revelations about mass surveillance by intelligence services. The chair of the civil liberties committee, British MEP Claude Moraes, said: "Something has gone wrong with the way that intelligence agencies and others have acted. Work needs to continue to ensure that civil liberties are defended on the internet, too."
The resolution follows the European Court of Justice ruling invalidating the Safe Harbour scheme, which came after a case brought by an Austrian privacy campaigner, Maximillian Schrems, who was worried that his data was not protected from surveillance by US intelligence services. Safe Harbour is a scheme set up by the EU and US, whereby US companies voluntarily sign up to a list of rules on how to deal with data coming from the EU.
The MEPs said that the Commission's reaction to a 2014 resolution on mass surveillance was "so far highly inadequate" and expressed concern at "some of the recent laws in some member states that extend the surveillance capabilities of intelligence bodies" including France, the UK and the Netherlands.
The lack of a response from the Commission to the European Parliament's request for a study on a potential European whistleblower protection programme also angered MEPs, who called for such a study to be presented by the end of 2016 at the latest.