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EU & U.S. Draft Agreement On Transfer Of Transatlantic Data

February 2, 2016 - Written By John Anon

Data, continues to be an extremely hot topic and there has been a number of reports coming through in the U.S. on data, privacy, security and where the line between these concepts should be drawn. This is not just a battle in the U.S. though, as across the pond and in wider Europe, a debate has been raging for months in regards to the access of European Citizen Data by U.S. companies like Google. In fact, the last few months have seen the debate evolving to extremely important discussions on how the future of EU citizen data is to be processed. This was due to the old ‘Safe Harbor’ framework deemed no longer valid. A move which has now slowed down the level of data between Europe and the U.S.

Since then though, finding a mutually beneficial agreement has been hard to come by with the two camps finding it difficult to come to an agreement. An issue which only two weeks ago saw a delay occur, with the end of January being suggested as a deadline for the talks to come to a feasible conclusion. On that note, the EU Commission has today announced that they have agreed with the U.S. a new framework focused on protecting EU citizen data. The crux of the new framework is that EU citizen data will be more strongly guarded during transmission to U.S. companies. In particular, it will require U.S companies to take a stronger stance and be more obligated to ensure protection of European data. A move which will also see the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce looking to more actively monitor and enforce the regulations.

While the new framework still permits access to information and data needed to comply with U.S. law, authorities will have to abide by “clear conditions” in requesting the information. Not to mention, EU citizens will gain the right to complain or obtain further information about access to their data through a new and independent Ombudsperson. However, the “EU-US Privacy Shield”, as it is being called, is still someway away from becoming firm. The agreement in principle has been made, although, it still needs to pass through various hurdles before it can be established as an enforceable and lawful agreement.