EU-US: Privacy Shield gets the go-ahead

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The much-maligned "Privacy Shield" has been approved by EU governments, putting in place a new framework for EU-US data-sharing that - just like its predecessor, the Safe Harbour agreement - is likely to face legal challenges. Safe Harbour was struck down by the European Court of Justice in October 2015.

"Updated @ 13:08 GMT, July 8—As expected, the Article 31 committee of national representatives waved through Privacy Shield on Friday morning.

Original story

BRUSSELS—Privacy Shield—the much maligned replacement to the Safe Harbour deal between the European Union and the US—looks set to be approved by national representatives on Friday, Ars understands.

The scheme, which will allow the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US despite privacy and data protection concerns, has faced an uphill battle. Brussels officials who negotiated the deal on behalf of the EU have been desperate to push it through in the face of criticism from the European Data Protection Supervisor, national data protection authorities, and the European Parliament, in order to give some legal certainty to companies that rely on transatlantic data flows."

See: Official: Privacy Shield dragged across finish line (Ars Technica, link)

Analysis by Privacy International, published the day before adoption: New “Shield”, Old Problems (PI, link):

"It has been said is that we pay for free services with our personal data. Now, the Privacy Shield exponentially expands this truth and we are paying for the cost of U.S. political dysfunction combined with EU complacency with our privacy. More than four months after the first EU-US Privacy Shield was published on 29 February 2016, a new version has been leaked. Remarkably, it is expected to be adopted.

Four months, two opinions by group of EU data protection regulatory authorities and the EU Data Protection Supervisor, countless letters and briefings expressing concerns by human rights and consumer organisations both side of the Atlantic, … and the “new” Privacy Shield looks very much like the old one."

Commission announcement:

"Today Member States have given their strong support to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, the renewed safe framework for transatlantic data flows. This paves the way for the formal adoption of the legal texts and for getting the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield up and running. The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield will ensure a high level of protection for individuals and legal certainty for business. It is fundamentally different from the old 'Safe Harbour': It imposes clear and strong obligations on companies handling the data and makes sure that these rules are followed and enforced in practice. For the first time, the U.S. has given the EU written assurance that the access of public authorities for law enforcement and national security will be subject to clear limitations, safeguards and oversight mechanisms and has ruled out indiscriminate mass surveillance of European citizens' data. And last but not least the Privacy Shield protects fundamental rights and provides for several accessible and affordable redress mechanisms. During the formal adoption process, the Commission has consulted as broadly as possible taking on board the input of key stakeholders, notably the independent data protection authorities and the European Parliament. Both consumers and companies can have full confidence in the new arrangement, which reflects the requirements of the European Court of Justice. Today's vote by the Member States is a strong sign of confidence."

See: Statement by Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Jourová on the occasion of the adoption by Member States of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (pdf)

And: Privacy Shield data pact gets European approval (BBC News, link)

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