July 08, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice of the tech sector, released the following statement today from President and CEO Dean Garfield regarding today’s vote to approve the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield by the Article 31 Committee, comprised of representatives from each of the European Union’s 28 Member States. ITI has been a leading advocate for the EU and United States to reach a new, stronger data transfer mechanism after the Court of Justice of the European Union effectively invalidated the previous “Safe Harbor” legal framework for internet data transfers between the two continents in October 2015.

“Today’s favorable vote by EU Member States endorses the Privacy Shield Framework as a much-needed solution for protecting the fundamental privacy rights of European citizens while enabling the transatlantic data flows essential to innovation, job creation, and economic growth,” Garfield said. “Achieving this important milestone is a testament to the hard work of EU and U.S. negotiators, who have worked tirelessly over the past few months to bolster Privacy Shield’s protections. Once fully enacted, the agreement will provide a critical tool for companies to reliably move data across the Atlantic, while upholding citizens’ rights to privacy and data protection.”

Negotiators from the European Commission and U.S. Commerce Department spent the past three months hammering out improvements to the Privacy Shield to address the concerns of European Data Protection Authorities and other EU stakeholders, including:

  • Adding restrictions on the ability of companies certifying to Privacy Shield to retain data about EU citizens,
  • Clarifying the independence of the U.S. Ombudsperson position created to handle EU citizens’ complaints about U.S. signals intelligence practices, and
  • Providing written assurances describing the clear limitations, safeguards and oversight mechanisms on national security activities to rule out mass and indiscriminate surveillance of EU citizens’ data.

The Privacy Shield next heads to a final vote by the European Union College of Commissioners, who are expected to approve the agreement at a meeting scheduled for Monday, July 11. A signing ceremony is planned for Tuesday, July 12, in Brussels, with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and European Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová.

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Public Policy Tags: Trade & Investment, data-localization, Forced Localization, Data & Privacy