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Privacy Shield is approved but will likely be tested at courts

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Privacy Shield is approved but will likely be tested at courts

The agreement is meant to mark the end of legal uncertainty for companies that transfer EU citizens’ personal data from Europe to the US, however the New York Times reports that legal challenges are already being prepared to test the deal at the courts.

According to the agreement, US companies can voluntarily sing up to a code of conduct, guaranteeing appropriate level of protection of EU citizens’ personal data. Moreover, a position will be created for an ombudsperson to whom EU citizens can address their complaints and concerns about the protection of their data.

Although Privacy Shield is mostly seen as an improvement from its predecessor Safe Harbour, many have misgivings about the agreement. Ars Technica lists some of the concerns that some MEPs and digital rights activists have, while noting that tech companies are mostly supportive of the new agreement.

At the same time, Max Schrems, whose complaint against Facebook resulted in the cancellation of Safe Harbour, said to Fortune that the new agreement is “the same as Safe Harbour with a couple of additions”, and that it would similarly fail. According to him, Privacy Shield doesn’t for example guarantee that EU citizens’ personal data is processed for narrowly defined purposes. Moreover, he said that the ombudsperson would have limited independence and power to investigate the complaints.

Even the EU’s justice commissioner sounded uncertain about the agreement’s longevity, saying that it would be “tested”. Privacy Shield might therefore not bring about the kind of long-term stability that businesses hoped for the legal basis of the transfer of their users’ data.

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2016-07-13 16:06

Author information

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We will be examining policy discussions that will define the news publishing environment of the future, the key topics being internet governance, privacy and copyright. Click here to learn more about our work.

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