EU and US close to data transfer deal Posted by Mike on 01 December 2015

It is anticipated that next month, the US and the EU will agree on a framework to replace Safe Harbor.

The EU Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova, spoke to the Austrian newspaper, Wirtschaftsblatt, in which she stated:

"We have to build a bridge between our data protection authorities and those of the USA and put it into a legally binding text".

In addition she added, "we should manage that by the next meeting on December 17th."

More than 4,000 companies were registered under Safe Harbor, all of whom were left scrambling to put in place alternative legal mechanisms to ensure ongoing data transfer. Most have used Model Contracts as an interim solution, but German regulators poured cold water over this approach, last month, when the openly questioned the validity of such contracts to ensure adequate protection of privacy.

Jourova also acknowledged the European Courts of Justice's concerns that Europeans do not have legal channels to challenge misuse of their data, saying:

"The main problem is the responsibilities of the European data protection authorities and of the U.S. counterpart, the Federal Trade Commission: they should implement the requirements and deal with the complaints of citizens".

It will be interesting to see if a bigger role can be agreed for European watchdogs with the Federal Trade Commission, in terms of oversight and enforcement.