US, EU agree new pact on transatlantic transfers of personal data

The urgently needed arrangements came as US tech giants faced a barrage of lawsuits from EU activists who are concerned about the ability of US security services to access the personal data of Europea

Published: 25th March 2022 03:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th March 2022 03:55 PM   |  A+A-

data privacy , cyber security

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By AFP

BRUSSELS: President Joe Biden on Friday said the US and EU had struck a new agreement on the transfer of personal data that would replace previous arrangements that were struck down by Europe's top court over spying concerns.

The urgently needed arrangements came as US tech giants faced a barrage of lawsuits from EU activists who are concerned about the ability of US security services to access the personal data of Europeans.

This will be the third attempt for a new data arrangement and succeeds deals that were invalidated after successful lawsuits argued that US laws violated the fundamental rights of EU citizens.

The deal "underscores our shared commitment to privacy, to data protection and to the rule of law", Biden said in a joint press appearance in Brussels with EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

He said the new deal, which was agreed in principle, would allow the EU executive to once again authorise "transatlantic data flows that helped facilitate $7.1 trillion and economic relationships with the EU".

The new arrangement, which still needs to be finalised, will almost certainly face intense legal scrutiny. 

The previous deal, known as Privacy Shield, was struck down in 2020 and was the successor to another EU-US deal, Safe Harbour, which was itself torpedoed by a similar court ruling in 2015.

The court battles have been led by Max Schrems, an Austrian activist and lawyer who began his campaign after revelations by Edward Snowden of mass digital spying by US agencies. 

Businesses have since resorted to legally uncertain workarounds to keep the data flow moving, with the hope that the two sides could come up with something stronger in the long term.

Schrems has attacked these short-term solutions and his Austrian data privacy group NYOB (none of your business) has filed dozens of complaints against Google across Europe.



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