President Biden signs executive order on US-EU data transfer privacy

Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that will aim to protect the privacy of personal data transfers between the US and the EU.

According to Security Week, alongside this protection of data transfers it will also seek to address European concerns about US intelligence collection activities.

The White House said that the executive order provides a new legal framework for trans-Atlantic data flows that are critical to the digital economy. It will be subject to review and ratification by the European Commission, which is expected to take several months.

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said, “This is a culmination of our joint efforts to restore trust and stability to trans-Atlantic data flows. It will enable a continued flow of data that underpins more than a trillion dollars in cross-border trade and investment every year.”

The White House said the executive order deals with concerns raised by the Court of Justice of the European Union when it ruled that the previous framework known as Privacy Shield did not provide adequate protection.

Privacy Shield- ended in July 2020 – was the successor to another EU-US deal, Safe Harbor, which was itself ended by a court ruling in 2015.

Raimondo added that she had confidence that the new arrangement, “The EU-US data privacy framework includes robust commitments to strengthen the privacy and civil liberties safeguards for signals intelligence which will ensure the privacy of EU personal data,” she said.

In addition, the executive order requires that US signals intelligence activities be conducted ‘only in pursuit of defined national security objectives’ and ‘take into consideration the privacy and civil liberties of all persons’ regardless of country of residence or nationality.

The order also creates an independent court for EU individuals “to seek redress if they believe they are unlawfully targeted by US intelligence activities.”

The first part of this will involve a ‘Civil Liberties Protection Officer’ (CLPO) in the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence who will investigate complaints to determine whether they involve a violation of US law. The second involves an independent Data Protection Review Court which will review the CLPO’s decisions.

The White House remarked, “Judges on the DPRC will be appointed from outside the US Government… review cases independently, and enjoy protections against removal.”

Last year, President Biden said that the US would unite 30 countries to crack down on the threat posed by ransomware gangs worldwide.

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