N. 4 (2017): The Formation of Transnational Movements?
Scholars and legal practitioners have long found profound differences between the privacy practices of Europe and the United States. This has produced incompatible regimes of regulation, causing serious normative and political issues, which culminated in the passage of the “Safe Harbor” agreement in 2000, which was meant to govern the exchange of commercial information across the Atlantic. But after 9/11, the gaps between Europe and America shrank as both Europe and the United States adopted increasingly intrusive security measures. This convergence came to a head with the Snowden revelations spying in 2013. One effect was the liquidation of “Safe Harbor” by the European Court of Justice; a second was the passage of a new – but still untested – EU General Data Protection Regulation in 2016; but a third was greater interaction and increased collective action on the part of European and American privacy advocates. This convergence may be producing incentives and resources for the formation of a transnational movement to protect privacy. This paper employs a “political opportunity structure” framework to understand how international events between 9/11 and the Snowden revelations securitized the monitoring of commercial and personal electronic communications, increasing inclination of nationally-and-regionally-based privacy advocacy groups to come together.