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Europe threatens to end data-sharing agreements with US after Snowden revelations

The agreements, the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program and Passenger Name Records, give US authorities access to European financial and travel data.

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Viviane Reding, the vice-president of the European Commission, has raised concerns about US internet surveillance and spying on EU diplomats. The situation has led to tense relations between the US and EU, with the European Parliament voting in favor of ending data-sharing agreements with the the American government. (Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images)

The European Union has said that it may reconsider data-sharing agreements with the United States after allegations of US spying.

Word of the possible suspension came Thursday after the European Parliament passed a resolution that backs ending the agreements if the US doesn't come clean over spying programs.

The European parliament voted 483 to 98 calling on the US to suspend and review any laws and surveillance programs that "violate the fundamental right of EU citizens to privacy and data protection," as well as Europe's "sovereignty and jurisdiction," said ZDNet.

The vote affirmed the possibility that certain data-sharing agreements would be canceled if the US did not respond to the demands.

The agreements, the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) and Passenger Name Records (PNR), give US authorities access to European financial and travel data.

Both were passed after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

"Should we fail to demonstrate the benefits of (the agreements) for our citizens and the fact that they have been implemented in full compliance with the law, their credibility will be seriously affected and in such a case I will be obliged to reconsider (whether) the conditions for their implementation are still met," said Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU's home affairs commissioner.

European-US relations have been tense lately as allegations of US spying on European diplomats, uncovered by Der Spiegel using documents obtained from Edward Snowden, have proliferated.

More from GlobalPost: European fury over US spying allegations

In the 2010 document the National Security Agency, Snowden's former employer, refer to the EU as a "target.”

Europeans are also worried about documents that reveal extensive NSA surveillance programs of internet users. 

The program, known as PRISM, has scooped up data from major US internet providers like Facebook and Google, and with it private data of Europeans.

European businesses have also said they may terminate certain contracts with US internet providers, according to the European Commission.

"If businesses or governments think they might be spied on, they will have less reason to trust cloud, and it will be cloud providers who ultimately miss out,” Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission said.

“Why would you pay someone else to hold your commercial or other secrets if you suspect or know they are being shared against your wishes?"

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/130705/europe-threatens-end-data-sharing-agreements-us-after-snowden-re