The European Union (EU) has recently adopted a new and thorough robust data privacy agreement with the United States.
This move follows three years after the EU court invalidated the previous data transfer agreement, presenting a new one that bolsters privacy protections for data being transferred between American tech companies and international users. The partnership aims to balance the scales in terms of privacy standards, reconciling with America’s spy programs, and harmonising the data transfer protocols.
The European Union, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, acts as the principal negotiator and signatory for agreements that involve multiple member countries. Its key areas include policy areas such as health, environment, and science. Conversely, the United States, based in North America, is a global leader in technology and innovation, boasting numerous tech giants such as Google, Apple, and Facebook.
This fresh agreement is the culmination of years of diplomatic negotiations over disparities in privacy norms and disagreements over US surveillance practices. The new EU-US Data Privacy Framework requires American tech companies to delete personal data no longer needed for its collected purpose and ensure continual protection when sharing personal data with third parties.
The new decision will provide relief to American tech companies, which have been under scrutiny from the EU since the fall of Privacy Shield in 2020. The Privacy Shield, adopted in 2016, was invalidated following a legal challenge by privacy activist Max Schrems, leading to a situation where American companies might have had to stop data transfers with the EU.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “The new EU-US Data Privacy Framework will ensure safe data flows for Europeans and bring legal certainty to companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Following the agreement in principle I reached with President Biden last year, the US has implemented unprecedented commitments to establish the new framework. Today we take an important step to provide trust to citizens that their data is safe, to deepen our economic ties between the EU and the US, and at the same time to reaffirm our shared values. It shows that by working together, we can address the most complex issues.”
Meanwhile, Caitlin Fennessy, vice president and chief knowledge officer of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, commented on the development, saying, “Businesses and diplomats alike will breathe easier now that the EU-US Data Privacy Framework has received the EU’s stamp of approval. Data can flow better protected and less hindered across the Atlantic, albeit with a legal challenge anticipated. While ‘finally’ is sure to be a common sentiment, the fact that this framework took three years to build suggests that no one wanted a quick and temporary fix.”
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