Euro­pean Union and US be­gin talks to re­store data-shar­ing deal

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligen­ce - By Margi Mur­phy in San Fran­cisco

THE Euro­pean Union has be­gun crit­i­cal talks with the US to re­build a datashar­ing deal that cov­ers 800m peo­ple on both sides of the At­lantic.

The Pri­vacy Shield, the mech­a­nism that al­lows thou­sands of com­pa­nies to freely trans­fer per­sonal data be­tween the EU and the US, was in­val­i­dated af­ter a land­mark de­ci­sion from Europe’s top court on July 16, deal­ing a blow to thou­sands of com­pa­nies who de­pend on it to con­duct or­di­nary busi­ness.

Wil­bur Ross, US sec­re­tary of com­merce, said: “The Euro­pean Union and the United States recog­nise the vi­tal im­por­tance of data pro­tec­tion and the sig­nif­i­cance of cross-bor­der data trans­fers to our cit­i­zens and economies.

“We share a com­mit­ment to pri­vacy and the rule of law, and to fur­ther deep­en­ing our eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship, and have col­lab­o­rated on th­ese mat­ters for sev­eral decades.”

The Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice threw out the frame­work amid con­cerns that gov­ern­ment surveil­lance meant the US could not guarantee the pri­vacy of Euro­peans to a stan­dard set by the Gen­eral Data Pro­tec­tion Reg­u­la­tion.

Fail­ure to reach an agree­ment could com­pli­cate Bri­tain’s ne­go­ti­a­tions over its own treaty that would al­low con­tin­ued data trans­fers be­tween the UK and EU af­ter the end of the Brexit tran­si­tion pe­riod on Dec 31.

Boris John­son sug­gested ear­lier this year that the UK was plan­ning to set up sovereign con­trols over its data, and could di­verge away from EU rules. Bri­tons are cur­rently pro­tected un­der the EU’s GDPR. The EU be­gan look­ing into the way that the US gath­ers and holds on to the in­for­ma­tion of peo­ple liv­ing in Europe af­ter Aus­trian ac­tivist Max Schrems filed a com­plaint in 2013.

Mr Schrems, a law stu­dent, filed the com­plaint against Face­book, which has its Euro­pean head­quar­ters in Dublin, Ire­land, ar­gu­ing that it should not hold on to his per­sonal data in the US be­cause the pri­vacy laws are weaker there.

He filed the com­plaint af­ter clas­si­fied doc­u­ments were leaked by former Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den, re­veal­ing how the US gov­ern­ment mon­i­tored peo­ple through on­line com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

The doc­u­ments de­tailed how Face­book gave of­fi­cials ac­cess to ac­count in­for­ma­tion be­long­ing to Euro­pean cit­i­zens.

The Pri­vacy Shield be­came op­er­a­tional on Aug 1 2016, im­pos­ing stronger obli­ga­tions on US com­pa­nies to pro­tect Euro­peans’ per­sonal data than that of Amer­i­cans.

It re­quired the US to co-op­er­ate more with Euro­pean Data Pro­tec­tion Au­thor­i­ties.

The Court of Jus­tice of the Euro­pean Union ruled against the Pri­vacy Shield in the July Schrems II case.

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