EU Privacy Regulators Request Changes in EU-US Data Transfer Agreement

By Staff Writer

Apr 14, 2016 06:48 AM EDT

WP29 on Wednesday called for changes in the commercial data transfer pact between the US and EU established 15 years ago. The agency insisted the pact needs to be replaced since it does not provide enough privacy protection.

US and EU agreed upon Safe Harbor deal to ensure businesses treat the data movement between countries with the same privacy protections as inside the region. Established 15 years ago, the pact was under fire after mass surveillance in the Snowden documents was revealed. Last October, Europe's high court ruled the pact invalid, resulting a $260 billion digital services trade across the Atlantic under legal uncertainty.

In order to replace the pact, EU and US policy maker discussed the new agreement to replace Safe Harbour pact. In February, Washington and Brussels agreed on Privacy Shield as a new framework to ensure continuous free flow of transatlantic data transfer between US and EU.

However, PC Magazine reported that the European Union privacy regulator: Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (WP29) said the Privacy Shield agreement was inadequate to protect privacy for European Internet users. WP29 chairwoman Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin in a Wednesday press conference said the proposed pact is too complex and difficult to understand.

"We believe that some key data protection principles, as outlined in European law, are not really flected … or have been inadequately substituted by alternative[s]," she said.

New York Times reported that two months ago European Union's top policy makers agreed to a hard-won data-sharing pact with United States officials. However, now many privacy regulators in European countries said the agreement did not provide sufficient safeguard of personal information for European Internet users.

EU-US Privacy Shield was a political agreement reached on February 2 between European Union and United States policy maker. The agrement allows companies to continue sending personal data back and forth across the Atlantic, and it is expected to be ratified soon. However national privacy watchdogs from Europe has raised concern that big American Internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon could misuse the data.

A data protection lawyer at DLA Piper in Brussels criticized the agreement, "From the outside, it must look like Europe can't speak with one voice on privacy. This is becoming kind of a circus."

Meanwhile Microsoft announced on Monday to become the first major US tech company to use the new Privacy Shield agreement, and resolve any disputes with European privacy watchdogs. Reuters reported the Redmond-based company said that it would sign up to the Privacy Shield.

WP29 on Wednesday was calling for changes in the commercial data transfer agreement between the US and EU. The agency said it does not provide enough protection for privacyor European users.

WP29 on Wednesday was calling for changes in the commercial data transfer agreement between the US and EU. The agency said it does not provide enough protection for privacy for European users.

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