Wednesday

21st Feb 2018

EU to adopt new US data rules in July

  • EU commission is set to roll out its updated draft version of Privacy Shield (Photo: Matthew Klein)

The European Commission is set to present a new draft of its data-exchange pact with the US, the Privacy Shield, in early July.

EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova told EUobserver in a recent interview that the most contentious issues had been agreed by Washington and Brussels.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

These concerned access to data by US security services, bulk collection of people’s personal information and independent oversight.

“We reached an accord on more precise listing of cases when bulk collection can occur and a better definition of how our American partners understand the difference between bulk collection which may be justified and mass surveillance without any purpose, which is not tolerable”, she said.

“These specific points have already been finished and put down in written form”.

The shield is to replace the 15 year-old Safe Harbour pact that failed to protect the privacy of EU nationals whose data was transferred to firms, such as Facebook, based in the US.

The EU Court of Justice (ECJ) invalidated the harbour treaty last year, due in part, to revelations by Edward Snowden, a former US intelligence contractor, of mass-scale US snooping on Europeans.

The EU commission and the US, after two years of talks, proposed the shield treaty as a replacement earlier this year.

But the EU's main regulatory body on privacy, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, criticised the initial draft in the strongest possible terms.

The body is composed of EU states’ national data supervisors and EU officials.

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, its chair, said in April that the shield would fail to protect people's data.

“The possibility that is left in the shield and its annexes for bulk collection … is not acceptable," she said.

She sent the draft back to the EU commission, which is now set to present its updated version.

Big money

The issue is important because big and small companies that use data on both sides of the Atlantic have had to use more costly and more complicated data exchange frameworks ever since Safe Harbour’s demise.

A lot of money is involved. The data flows are worth an estimated €230 billion a year.

Broader concerns on how well the new “shield” would stand up to ECJ scrutiny have also put companies on edge.

Giovanni Buttarelli, the European data protection supervisor (EDPS), told reporters in May he too had "serious concerns" with Privacy Shield.

But Jourova remained confident.

Aside from having narrowed down on US bulk collection, she said she had also tackled the problem of oversight.

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

But doubts emerged over the independence of the new office.

Jourova told this website that "a more precise definition of competencies, status, and functioning" of the ombudsman have since been agreed.

Not everything is ready, however.

Jourova said the EU and US still need to agree on how long firms can retain the data and for what purpose.

"We want to make sure that personal data will only be kept for that period which is necessary and to agree on exceptions which enable them to keep data for a longer time," she said.

Exceptions in the EU include retaining data for scientific research purposes or for healthcare needs.

“In the US they have a broader, a more benevolent system [on retention], and everything that we do on Privacy Shield is to make sure that there’ll be equivalent, not the same, but equivalent, protection [for EU and US nationals]”, she said.

EU data regulation

The EU commission said the Privacy Shield would become operational almost immediately after it is adopted by the college of EU commissioners in July, with no further input from the EU Council or MEPs.

Around a year later, the EU's reformed data protection regulation should also be implemented.

The regulation is much tougher when it comes to privacy controls and companies will have to comply with it or face big fines.

The difference between the two hinges on how a company uses data.

Data sent to a company in the US would fall under the Privacy Shield. But if the same company also offers goods and services in the EU and collects EU nationals’ data remotely, then it will have to comply with the EU regulation as well.

Greek EU commissioner challenges bribery allegations

Dimitris Avramopoulos says he will mount a legal challenge to reveal the identities of people behind allegations that he, along with other former Greek ministers, had accepted money from a Swiss pharmaceutical giant.

Rights watchdog to visit Turkey over rule of law

The Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, is heading to Ankara next week. The trip follows new plans by Ankara to meet EU demands for reforms in areas like anti-terror legislation.

News in Brief

  1. Commission fines car cartels €546m
  2. Juncker: 'nothing' wrong in Katainen meeting Barroso
  3. Juncker appoints new head of cabinet
  4. MEPs decide not to veto fossil fuel projects list
  5. Factory relocation risks drawing Vestager into Italian election
  6. Irregular migration into EU drops to four-year low, says Frontex
  7. Macron's new migrant law faces opposition in parliament
  8. MEPs approve anti-smuggling bill on tobacco

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  2. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. 21 February in Brussels
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  4. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  5. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  7. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. Bank of Latvia sends deputy to ECB amid bribery probe
  2. We are not (yet) one people
  3. Intellectual property protection - the cure for Europe's ills
  4. Eastern states push back at rule of law conditions on funds
  5. Katainen explains: My friend Barroso did not lobby me
  6. A European budget: securing a prosperous future for Europe
  7. Poland wrong to log in ancient forest, says EU lawyer
  8. EU taxpayers risk bailing out MEP pension scheme

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  2. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  4. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  5. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  6. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  9. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  11. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  12. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission