Ireland’s data regulator could soon be under less international pressure after the EU and US reached a tentative agreement to continue transatlantic data flows while complying with EU data protection laws.
[I am ] We are pleased that we have found a fundamental agreement on a new framework for transatlantic data traffic,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“It will enable predictable and trustworthy data flows, balancing security, the right to privacy and data protection.”
The two sides have yet to release details of the deal, but it reportedly includes a new grievance mechanism for European citizens who believe they have been unlawfully monitored by US authorities.
The issue has threatened transatlantic trade for the past decade, with two previous agreements – Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield – being struck down by Europe’s highest court for failing to meet European data protection law.
US authorities have refused to comply with EU privacy standards, arguing that surveillance is necessary for US national security. European authorities have refused to compromise on the surveillance issue, arguing that EU law provides for fundamental rights that do not replace trading conditions.
“Today we agreed on unprecedented protections for privacy and security for citizens,” Biden said at a joint press conference in Brussels.
Longtime critics of a European compromise on the issue say it could be doomed to failure. Austrian data protection activist Max Schrems described the deal as “politics over law and fundamental rights”.
“It’s failed twice already,” he said. “What we are hearing is another patchwork approach but no substantive reform on the US side. Let’s wait for a text, but my first bet is [that] it will fail again.”
However, the move should ease some of the pressure on Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon. The Irish DPC office had been caught in the midst of EU-US tensions over the issue, culminating in several high-profile court cases over whether or not Facebook should allow transatlantic data transfers to continue.
An EU official familiar with the matter said it would likely take months to turn the tentative deal into a final legal deal.
“First, the US needs to prepare its implementing regulation, and then we need to conduct our internal consultations in the Commission and the European Data Protection Board,” the official said.
additional reportting Reuters
https://www.independent.ie/business/eu-and-us-strike-a-deal-over-data-and-avert-trade-war-41488932.html EU and US agree on data and prevent trade war