15th April 2016

EU data watchdogs not sold on Privacy Shield

The new EU-US Privacy Shield, a framework for transatlantic data flows provisionally agreed by EU and US authorities in February, may yet face some challenges on the road to its projected adoption by the EC in June. EU data protection authorities meeting within the so-called Article 29 Working Party, a consultative body, raised several objections against it on 13 April. Indiscriminate data collection by national security authorities in the US and the independence of the data protection ombudsman are among the issues. The panel asked the EC to include additional safeguards into the Privacy Shield. The opinion of the watchdogs may be consultative only, but it is a strong indication of their position in case a court proceeding arises. One of the past court cases brought the previous framework (Safe Harbor) down. And some say a new court action is not a matter of “if”, but “when”. The EC is expected to be keen to address the issues. However, insiders indicate the US side may be unwilling to compromise further. Until the problem is solved, companies may use model clauses or binding corporate rules to legalize transatlantic data flows. However, that is a temporary solution and also their fate will depend on the tweaking of EU-US Privacy Shield.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic