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Extensive Covert Surveillance Programme Harms EU Perceptions Of U.S. And Could Put TTIP Negotiations At Risk

BRUSSELS, Dec. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --  These are the headline conclusions of comprehensive comparative studies on attitudes towards data protection conducted by FTI Consulting in the EU and U.S.

  • EU Respondents Split on Suspending TTIP Negotiations Because of Privacy Concerns
  • U.S. Clearly Considered the Main Beneficiary of Big Data and Europeans Say Breaches of EU Data Laws by U.S. Companies Should be Prosecuted
  • Scepticism of Claims Data Collection Results in Greater Security, but U.S. Respondents More Trusting than Europeans
  • Governments Not Trusted to Responsibly Use Data
  • Healthcare Providers and Law Enforcement Agencies Earn Greatest Trust
  • Social Media, Traditional Media and Politicians Seen as Data Pariahs

The recent revelations of extensive intelligence gathering by United States ("U.S.") agencies on the European Union ("EU"), its citizens and governments has harmed EU-U.S. relations, and has dampened Europeans' enthusiasm for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership ("TTIP"). This is one of the major findings from a survey on data security that canvassed the opinions of 1,536 respondents in the EU and 1,000 respondents in the U.S., conducted by FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: FCN), the global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organisations protect and enhance their enterprise value.

FTI Consulting conducted separate polls in the U.S. and the EU. It is important to note that U.S. interviewees were polled from 29 May to 02 June 2013, days before the news of NSA covert surveillance broke, whereas polling in Europe was carried out from 25 October to 28 October 2013, following months of high-profile headlines. In that context, a number of additional questions were included in the EU poll in order to determine attitudes regarding the latest developments and focused on EU-specific angles; otherwise, the same questions were asked in each poll in order to allow for a direct comparison of results.

The bearing of the related privacy concerns on EU-U.S. relations is clearly marked, with an overwhelming majority of EU respondents – a full three-quarters (76%) – believing the data protection issue will impact the EU-U.S. relationship. As a clear example of how the data security issue seems to have shaken Europeans' support for closer ties with the U.S., EU respondents are split over continuing support for the TTIP free trade agreement negotiations, with 49% of EU respondents saying negotiations should be stalled because of the data issue, and 50% saying they should not. These findings reflect some recent calls by senior EU politicians in European media for a suspension of the negotiations.

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