Members of the European Parliament passed a resolution Thursday to provide citizens better protection against mass surveillance, calling on member states to drop charges against whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The resolution, approved by a 342 to 274 vote, slammed the European Commission and others for not having properly applied a previous resolution passed on March 12, 2014, shortly after Snowden's shocking revelations on the U.S.-EU Safe Harbour scheme.
The European lawmakers then voted on protection for Edward Snowden, who is wanted by the United States government.
By 285 votes to 281, the European parliamentarians decided to call on EU member states to "drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender."
This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward. pic.twitter.com/fBs5H32wyD— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 29, 2015
The EU Court of Justice declared invalid the U.S.-EU Safe Harbour scheme on Oct. 6. Implemented since 2000, the Safe Harbour Scheme allowed U.S. companies to transfer data from the EU to the United States.
The MEPs welcomed the court's decision, saying, “this ruling has confirmed the long-standing position of Parliament regarding the lack of an adequate level of protection under this instrument.”
They urged the Commission to “immediately take the necessary measures to ensure that all personal data transferred to the U.S. are subject to an effective level of protection that is essentially equivalent to that guaranteed in the EU.”
They also expressed their concern about the recent bills passed in France, the U.K. and the Netherlands, among others, that extent surveillance and the power of intelligence agencies.
The collaboration between the German intelligence body BDE with its U.S. counterpart, the National Security Agency, was cited an example that citizens' interests are not taken into account.