EU begins formal process to approve safe data transfers with the US

The EU VP of values and transparency said the news was thanks to ‘good cooperation and progress’ between it and the US around data privacy issues.

The EU has today (13 December) begun the process to adopt an adequacy decision for safe data transfers with the US.

It follows actions taken by the US in October which implemented into US law the country’s commitments to the EU under the EU-US Data Privacy Framework (DPF).

The DPF was announced in March of this year as a joint initiative by the EU and the US to balance both bodies’ reliance on cross-border and transatlantic data flows for economic purposes with citizens’ privacy and civil liberties.

Today’s draft decision by the EU comes following an order signed by US president Biden on 7 October. Biden’s executive order was accompanied by a series of regulations issued by the US attorney general Merrick Garland.

The order outlined the steps the US will take to implement its commitments under the EU-US Data Privacy Framework.

The draft adequacy decision issued by the EU today reflects the European Commission’s assessment of the US legal framework. It concludes that the US has taken steps to provide safeguards the EU considers appropriate and comparable with its own.

The draft decision has now been published and transmitted to the European Data Protection Board for its opinion. This forms part of the formal adoption procedure which includes more scrutiny of the decision by the European Parliament and member state representatives.

The decision concluded that the US ensures an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred from the EU to US companies.

Moreover, the measures taken by the US address the concerns raised by the Court of Justice of the European Union in its Schrems II decision of July 2020 around transatlantic data sharing and storage.

Under the agreements between the two bodies, European companies will be able to rely on safeguards such as limits to the data that US national security agencies can access, as well as redress measures.

“Our talks with the US have resulted in proposing a framework that will further improve safety of personal data of Europeans transferred to the US,” said Věra Jourová, EU VP of values and transparency.

“It builds on our good cooperation and progress we have made over the years. The future framework is also good for businesses and it will strengthen transatlantic cooperation. As democracies, we need to stand up for fundamental rights, including data protection. This is necessity, not a luxury in the increasingly digitalised and data driven economy.”

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