Brussels, 8 July 2016
“Today Member States have given their strong support to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, the renewed safe framework for transatlantic data flows. This paves the way for the formal adoption of the legal texts and for getting the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield up and running. The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield will ensure a high level of protection for individuals and legal certainty for business. It is fundamentally different from the old ‘Safe Harbour’: It imposes clear and strong obligations on companies handling the data and makes sure that these rules are followed and enforced in practice. For the first time, the U.S. has given the EU written assurance that the access of public authorities for law enforcement and national security will be subject to clear limitations, safeguards and oversight mechanisms and has ruled out indiscriminate mass surveillance of European citizens’ data. And last but not least the Privacy Shield protects fundamental rights and provides for several accessible and affordable redress mechanisms. During the formal adoption process, the Commission has consulted as broadly as possible taking on board the input of key stakeholders, notably the independent data protection authorities and the European Parliament. Both consumers and companies can have full confidence in the new arrangement, which reflects the requirements of the European Court of Justice. Today’s vote by the Member States is a strong sign of confidence.”
Background: The Commission presented a draft decision on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield on 29 February. In accordance with the data protection Directive, the independent data protection authorities (“Article 29 Working Party”) issued an opinion on 13 April. The European Parliament adopted a resolution on 26 May. Today, Member States representatives (article 31 committee) approved the final version of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, paving the way for the adoption of the decision by the Commission. On Monday, Commissioner Jourová will inform the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee of the European Parliament on the state of play.
More information on the Privacy Shield is available here.