On 2 February 2016 the College of Commissioners approved the political agreement on the ‘The EU-US Privacy Shield’ ,
which was followed on 29 February 2016 by a draft “adequacy decision ” and the communication ‘Transatlantic Data Flows: Restoring Trust through Strong Safeguards ‘. The Commission has also made the US Government’s written commitments available (Annex 1-7).
A Fact sheet gives an overview and in a FAQ the Commission underlines ‘that any access by public authorities to personal data transferred under the new arrangement on national security grounds will be subject to clear conditions, limitations and oversight, preventing generalised access’, and that ‘the newly created Ombudsperson mechanism will handle and solve complaints or enquiries raised by EU individuals in this context’.
At a hearing on the Privacy Shield in the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on 17 March 2016, among others the European Data Protection Supervisor, Max Schrems, and David Martin from the Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC) intervened.
On 13 April 2016, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, chairwoman of the Article 29 Working Party, discussed the Privacy Shield pros and cons at a news conference . The opinion of the working party, published the same day, criticises several aspects of the draft decision; provisions on purpose limitation, data retention, onward transfers and redress principles. The opinion was commented on by the European Commissioner for Justice,Vera Jourova , who stated that it contains ‘a number of useful recommendations and the Commission will work to swiftly include them in its final decision.’
In the meantime, the Judicial Redress Act, an act that would provide EU citizens with access to judicial redress in the US passed the Congress and was signed into law by the President on 24 February 2016. The Congresssional Research Service has written an analysis, ‘Judicial Redress Act 101 – What to Know as Senate Contemplates Passing New Privacy Law’, published on 21 January 2016.
See also the ERPS At a glance ‘The ECJ Schrems case and Safe Harbour decision ‘ by Shara Monteleone and Laura Puccio published on 25 October 2015.
To read the article by Jan Baeverstroem