Data pri­vacy fears as Trump or­der threat­ens US-EU deal

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Technology -

Euro­pean and US au­thor­i­ties have moved to pre­vent a gulf in transat­lantic data pri­vacy law af­ter the lat­est ex­ec­u­tive or­der by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump threat­ened to up­end in­ter­na­tional agree­ments.

Last week’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der, aimed at beef­ing up public safety in the US, ap­peared to re­move data pri­vacy pro­tec­tion rights from EU cit­i­zens’ in­for­ma­tion han­dled in the US.

Sec­tion 14 of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der states: “Agen­cies shall, to the ex­tent con­sis­tent with ap­pli­ca­ble law, en­sure that their pri­vacy poli­cies ex­clude per­sons who are not United States cit­i­zens or law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dents from the pro­tec­tions of the Pri­vacy Act re­gard­ing per­son­ally iden­ti­fi­able in­for­ma­tion.”

MEPS such as data pro­tec­tion rap­por­teur Jan Philipp Al­brecht were quick to point out on Twit­ter that the move un­der­mines transat­lantic agree­ments on pro­tect­ing EU cit­i­zens’ rights.

These in­clude the con­tro­ver­sial Pri­vacy Shield transat­lantic ac­cord.

This pur­ports to of­fer EU lev­els of pri­vacy pro­tec­tion to Euro­pean cit­i­zens’ data when han­dled by Us-based or­gan­i­sa­tions.

How­ever, a spokesman for the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion said that new leg­is­la­tion which came into force yesterday would pre­vent pro­tec­tion be­ing re­moved for EU cit­i­zens’ data in the US.

“We are aware of the ex­ec­u­tive or­der on public safety,” said the spokesman.

“The US Pri­vacy Act has never of­fered data pro­tec­tion rights to Euro­peans.

“The com­mis­sion ne­go­ti­ated two ad­di­tional in­stru­ments to en­sure that EU cit­i­zens’ data is duly pro­tected when trans­ferred to the US.”

The spokesman added that the EU-US Um­brella Agree­ment en­ters into force this Fri­day.

“To fi­nalise this agree­ment, the US Congress adopted a new law last year, the US Ju­di­cial Re­dress Act, which ex­tends the ben­e­fits of the US Pri­vacy Act to Euro­peans and gives them ac­cess to US courts.” The spokesman said that the com­mis­sion “will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the im­ple- men­ta­tion of both in­stru­ments and are fol­low­ing closely any changes in the US that might have an ef­fect on Euro­peans’ data pro­tec­tion rights”. Last Fri­day EU Com­mis­sioner for Justice, Con­sumers and Gen­der Equal­ity Vera Jourova weighed in on the sit­u­a­tion. “I need to be re­as­sured that Pri­vacy Shield can re­main,” she said. “I need to have re­con­fir­ma­tion that there is con­ti­nu­ity.” Ms Jourova is to travel to the United States in sev­eral weeks to meet her Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts. She is also sched­uled to pre­pare the first an­nual joint re­view of the Pri­vacy Shield ac­cord.

Jan Philipp Al­brecht said the move un­der­mines transat­lantic agree­ments on EU cit­i­zens’ rights

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