Legal & Privacy Policy

Although still holding, EU-US data privacy is threatening to topple

The purpose of the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement is to regulate the privacy of personal data transmitted to the US for commercial purposes. Approximately one year after its entry into force, the EU Commission has taken stock of the initial interim result.

25 Oct. 2017

The Privacy Shield works, reports EU Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová , but there is room for improvement as regards its ease of use. Overall, Privacy Shield offers an "adequate level of data privacy" for personal data transmitted from the EU to participating companies in the US. More than 2400 US firms are meanwhile certified to participate in the program.

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However, at the same time, the Commission has also issued a number of recommendations for improvement. For example, it is asking for the US Department of Commerce to monitor the companies’ compliance with data privacy obligations more actively and on a more regular basis, and for the data protection authorities on both sides of the Atlantic to work more closely together. It also calls for citizens resident in the EU to be better informed of their rights, particularly about the appeals procedure.

At present, whether the US still intend to comply with their obligations on the basis of the agreement remains uncertain. Shortly after taking up office, US President Donald Trump had signed a directive that many critics see as a first step towards revoking the Privacy Shield. Among other things, an ombudsman to be contacted by EU citizens, who consider their rights prejudiced, has not yet been appointed. The EU Commission, Jourová warned , will not wait for ever.

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