Good News: EU-US Privacy Shield gets European Commission’s green light

On Wednesday 18 October, the European Commission published a report supporting the continuation of the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement and recommending some improvements. The report concludes the negotiations of the data-transfer deal's inaugural annual review, which the Alliance previously covered here.

The improvements suggested by the Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová include more aggressive oversight by the US to regularly conduct compliance checks on companies to ensure they meet the EU privacy standards and protect European citizens’ privacy, the appointment of a permanent US official to defend European citizens’ privacy in the US, and rules to prevent companies from publicly announcing that they are Privacy Shield-certified without receiving approval of the US Department of Commerce.

The Privacy Shield, which began in August 2016, streamlines the process by which US companies can transfer Europeans' data back and forth across the Atlantic. It’s essential in providing legal certainty to companies relying on international data flow, as do many of our members.

The Alliance strongly supports any effort to maintain a sustainable framework allowing businesses to freely move data between the EU and the US while protecting users’ privacy.

The free-flow of data is fundamental to a vibrant digital economy. Like other trade barriers, impediments that restrict the flow of data across borders create fragmented and inefficient markets, stifle innovation, limit competition, and drive up consumer costs.

We are happy about the latest developments on the Privacy Shield but remain vigilant on this sensitive issue as the US has not yet responded to the Commission’s recommendations, and the EU did not provide a deadline.