By Janelle M. Lewis, Principal Attorney, The Law Office of Janelle M. Lewis

Monday, 18 September 2017, will be the first annual review of the EU – U.S. Privacy Shield, since the agreement was adopted on 12 July 2016. In it’s article, “Privacy Shield review – A critical moment for the transatlantic economy,” the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU) provided an update on the upcoming review, that will be very important to the transatlantic economy. The review will span over two days, where representatives of the European Commission and the U.S. will meet to review and verify the implementation of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The purpose of this review is to not to renegotiate the agreement, but to provide continuity and address concerns. To date, 2,400 U.S. companies of all types, sizes and sectors have self-certified under the agreement.

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

The EU – U.S.  Privacy Shield is a transatlantic agreement between the EU and the U.S., that allows for the commercial cross-border transfer of the personal data from the EU to the U.S. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, while it is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. In order to participate, U.S. companies voluntarily but publicly self-certify that they are in compliance with the Privacy Shield Framework.

Importance of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Agreement

AmCham EU reminds in its announcement of the first annual review, that the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Agreement is important for the facilitation of business activities between the U.S. and the E.U. To date, data transfers between the U.S. and the EU are the highest in the world. Additionally, the U.S. is both the largest supplier of digitally-provided services to the EU and the largest non-EU consumer of EU digitally-provided services.

EU – U.S. Privacy Shield Challenges and Benefits During the First Year

During it’s first year of implementation, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield has been under significant challenges. AmCham EU notes some of the challenges:

  • Ongoing court challenges to the validity of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.
  • The possible changes to the legal foundation of the agreement under the new U.S. Administration.
  • Challenges to the robustness of the agreement by the European Parliament and the European Data Protection Authorities.

On the other hand, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield has been supported by the business community, who sees it as having struck a balance between providing a high level of protection for personal data from the EU and facilitating the transfer of data to promote transatlantic business activities.

In either case, 18-19 September will provide stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic with an assessment of the current state of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and its impact on future transatlantic business activities.

 

The views expressed in this article do not constitute legal advice and legal information provided in this post should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please contact an Attorney for advice on your specific matter.