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EU-US privacy shield: EPP Group supports agreement


03 Feb 2016



Following the announcement of the conclusion of the data transfer negotiations (previously called Safe Harbour) between the EU and the US, the EPP Group's Spokesman on Data Protection, Axel Voss MEP, welcomed the agreement: “This new arrangement is of paramount importance to our digital economy. It gives a clear and reasonable legal framework for the transatlantic transfer of data.

On the one hand, it seems that the US is making commitments in the framework of its national security to limit access by the authorities to personal data to what is necessary and proportionate, and on the other, the European Commission obtained commitments from the US that there will be more oversight and individual redress.

When it comes to national intelligence, judicial redress is limited. Therefore it is important to have a functionally independent body who would answer complaints from EU citizens. This will be done by a US Ombudsman (as announced by Commissioner Jourova) with a real capacity to act, which will give an adequate reply to individual complaints. The right of action against companies in the case of privacy violations should be strengthened. In the best case, the complaint will be resolved by the company directly. If this is not possible, EU citizens can alternatively use the dispute settlement mechanism and go to the data protection authority for instance. Furthermore, the Commissioner reported that she obtained commitments from the US to conduct an annual joint review on the functioning of the mechanism.

The Commission announcements are going in the right direction and will strengthen and reinforce EU citizens' rights", concluded Voss.