Letter to the Financial Times by John Higgins, Director General, DigitalEurope, Brussels, Belgium in response to the opinion of advocate general Yves Bot that the EU/US Save Harbor Agreement was invalid. See yesterday’s post
“Sir, We are very concerned about the potential disruption to international data flows if the European Court of Justice follows yesterday’s opinion by advocate general Yves Bot regarding the case of Schrems v the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (“US tech giants’ data-sharing deal with EU under threat”, FT.com, September 23). The disruption could impact on data transfers from the EU to anywhere else in the world, not just the transfers covered by the Safe Harbour Agreement between the EU and the US which lies at the centre of the case.
We hope that the weaknesses identified in Mr Bot’s opinion will be adequately addressed in the ongoing efforts by the EU and the US to revise the safe harbour agreement. We note that the judicial redress act under debate in the US Congress will go a long way in addressing some of the issues at the heart of his opinion.
In addition to the disruption to data flows, a ruling in line with the opinion would also frustrate the creation of the digital single market in Europe because it would fragment Europe’s approach to data flows out of the EU.
Data transfers underpin almost all trade in the digital age. Much of the data are personal, including payroll data and customer data. Lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic must find solutions to ensure that transfers between the EU and the US can continue with legal certainty before the ECJ rules in follow-up to yesterday’s opinion.
Failure to do so will have important, long-term implications for Europe’s trading relationship not only with the US but with the rest of the world.
Source: Financial Times