April 14, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice of the tech sector, released the following statement today from Vice President for Global Cybersecurity and Privacy Policy John Miller regarding the public release of the opinion of the Article 29 Working Party comprised of representatives from the European Union’s Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) regarding the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield:

“We are pleased that European Data Protection Authorities today acknowledged the ‘major improvements’ reflected in the Privacy Shield Framework, and that it represents a ‘great step forward’ over Safe Harbor,” Miller said. “We understand the DPAs are also calling for certain clarifications of the complex Privacy Shield agreement to ensure it provides EU citizens with an ‘essentially equivalent’ level of protection when their data is transferred to the United States. ITI and our member companies respect the European legal system, including the important role played by DPAs. We share the goal of crafting a mechanism for transatlantic data transfers that is consistent with the high levels of privacy protection afforded to citizens in both the European Union and United States, and we look forward to reviewing the DPAs’ written opinion to more precisely understand the nature of the clarifications being sought.”

An extensive legal analysis released earlier by the law firm of Hogan Lovells concluded that the Privacy Shield framework, as negotiated, reflects levels of privacy and data protection that are consistent with EU law. Legal scholars have also noted that the United States offers “essentially equivalent” privacy and data protections as the European Union and its Member States. The global tech sector believes it is important to bear these analyses in mind as interested parties in Europe and the United States continue to consider the Privacy Shield.

“We also appreciate that the Working Party has expressly maintained the status quo with respect to the validity of other legal mechanisms for transferring data from the EU to the United States, including Binding Corporate Rules and Model Contract Clauses,” Miller said. “Cross-border data flows play a critical role in the modern economy, so it is imperative that policymakers continue to provide a legal basis for companies to reliably move data across the Atlantic, while upholding citizens’ fundamental rights to privacy and data protection. Doing so is vital to ensure continued innovation, job creation, and economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic.”

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Public Policy Tags: Data & Privacy, Trade & Investment