Sunday

27th May 2018

Regulator criticises 'Privacy Shield' for EU data in US

  • The new EU-US Privacy Shield may end up at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

The European Commission plans to move forward on a new data sharing pact with the US despite criticism by Europe's top data protection regulators on Wednesday (13 April).

EU justice commissioner Vera Jourva said the so-called EU-US Privacy Shield, which was agreed in February, will be adopted in June.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"I am grateful to the experts [data regulators] for their thorough analysis," she said in statement.

The move to push ahead with Privacy Shield is motivated, in part, to reestablish a sense of lost trust among businesses that rely on a transatlantic data exchange market worth $260 billion annually.

Privacy Shield lays out rules on the transfer and use of data of EU nationals by firms in the United States and replaces a 15-year old Safe Harbour decision that was declared illegal by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The latest deal, largely based on signed letters from US authorities, is supposed to protect EU nationals from mass surveillance and other possible violations.

But details in the annex of the agreement still give US authorities wide discretion on bulk collection.

US-led mass surveillance, as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, was among the main reasons why Safe Harbour ended up in the ECJ in the first place.

Concern is mounting that Privacy Shield could share a similar fate, unravelling two years of talks between the EU commission and the US.

The EU's main regulatory body on privacy, the “article 29 working party”, on Wednesday added to those fears after its assessment flagged gaps.

The article 29 group is composed of representatives of national data protection authorities and EU experts.

It cited improvements to Safe Harbour, but its chair, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, said “the possibility that is left in the Shield and its annexes for bulk collection … is not acceptable.”

In a separate case at the EU court in Luxembourg, judges are to rule by 2017 on whether UK proposals on bulk data retention and bulk access to retained data are lawful.

Falque-Pierrotin said the verdict is likely to weigh in on Privacy Shield.

The US has promised to set up a special ombudsperson, embedded in the state department, to help deal with complaints from EU nationals.

But Falque-Pierrotin said there are outstanding issues on the ombudsperson's independence.

"We don't have enough security guarantees in the status of the ombudsperson," she said.

Article 29's criticism was not limited to US national security issues.

In terms of commercial use of data, it said questions remain on use of EU nationals’ data in the US and on the transfer of their data to other countries.

The Brussels-based European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) aired similar views.

“EU consumers’ rights to privacy should not expire once their personal data travels outside the EU but this agreement does nothing to really prevent that from happening," said BEUC director Monique Goyens.

In a further complication, the legal analysis of Shield is based, in part, on a 20-year old data protection directive that is set to be replaced this week by a much stronger regulation.

The reformed data protection regulation will be voted into law by the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday and transposed into national laws within two years.

It is unclear how well Privacy Shield will respond to the new data protection regulation.

The regulation will be voted in alongside a new EU passenger name record (PNR) bill that has itself attracted widespread criticism from civil liberty defenders.

Cracks emerge in EU US data 'shield'

Issues of mass surveillance and a weak legal basis on a new data privacy deal with the US is casting doubt on its viability should it end up before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

EU to adopt new US data rules in July

Talks on Privacy Shield have agreed key issues - on US security access, bulk collection and oversight - EU commissioner Jourova told EUobserver. Questions on data retention outstanding.

Watchdogs concerned by EU-US data pact

European data protection authorities tell US to improve oversight on 'Privacy Shield' scheme, otherwise they would go to the EU's highest court.

GDPR - a global 'gold standard'?

The new EU privacy rules are touted as a global 'gold standard' - but Mexico's former data commissioner warns some nations are far from ready.

New GDPR enforcer says complaints imminent

The European Data Protection Board is a new EU body tasked with enforcing the EU's privacy laws with powers to impose massive fines. Its head Andrea Jelinek told reporters complaints against companies are expected to be immediate.

Opinion

The dangers of resurgent nationalism in Greece

Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  11. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  12. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations