EU Privacy Authorities Assessing The Privacy Shield Likely to Ask For Another Review to be Conducted in 2018

By Staff Writer

Apr 13, 2016 07:37 AM EDT

A group of European data privacy authorities is in the process to review the EU-U.S. data pact, the Privacy Shield. Reports said that the European privacy watchdogs could ask for a review in two years.

The EU data protection authorities are now assessing whether to endorse the pact between the EU and the United States. Under the pact, U.S. tech companies are obliged to more strongly protect Europeans' personal data. The pact requires U.S. companies to monitor and enforce the protection of privacy, also cooperate more closely with European data protection authorities.

The group now assessing the Privacy Shield consists of 28 EU data protection authorities. According to Reuters, the regulators still have concerns regarding the effectiveness of the pact. One of them is concern over the independence of a new U.S. "ombudsperson" that will be responsible for handling EU complaints about U.S. surveillance practices.

Another issue to be examined further is the threshold on how much data U.S. government agents can collect as well as access. Also, the privacy watchdogs have doubts about the U.S. confidence that Europeans' data conveyed to the U.S. will not be subject to indiscriminate mass surveillance.

The watchdogs group is expected to announce its result of the assessment of the Privacy Shield later this week. According to The Hill, the regulators may ask for another review of the Privacy Shield two years from now. In 2018, a stricter EU data protection law will come into force, changing the broad context for the whole framework so that another review might need to be conducted at the time.

Many believe that an agreement to endorse the pact will not be reached by the regulators. In what seems to be a leaked document, it's revealed that the group was "not yet in a position to confirm that the current draft adequacy decision does, indeed, ensure a level of protection in the U.S. that is essentially equivalent to that in the EU". SC Magazine reports that the leak came from the German Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) last week.

If the European privacy watchdogs announce that they do approve the framework, it must still clear other processes to be finalized by both the EU and U.S. governments. Even if it's finalized between the governments, the European Court of Justice can still weigh in on its validity.

Reports revealed that the group of 28 EU privacy watchdogs working to assess the Privacy Shield may ask for another review of the EU-U.S. pact in 2018. The pact was designed to regulate Europeans' privacy protection by U.S. tech companies.

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