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EU & US Agree To New Data-Sharing Pact

 |  March 25, 2022

The European Union and the United States announced a preliminary data transfer deal on Friday, seeking to end the limbo in which thousands of companies found themselves after Europe’s top court threw out two previous pacts due to concerns about US surveillance, reported Reuters.

While businesses cheered the news, Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, whose campaign about the risk of US intelligence agencies accessing Europeans’ data in a long-running dispute with Meta led to the court vetoes, criticised the lack of details.

US President Joe Biden and European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said at a joint news conference in Brussels that the provisional agreement takes into account the court’s concerns and offers stronger legal protections.

READ MORE: Data Sharing for Digital Market Contestability: Towards a governance framework

“Today, we’ve agreed to unprecedented protections for data privacy and security for citizens,” Biden said.

“I am very pleased that we have found an agreement in principle on a new framework for transatlantic data flows,” von der Leyen said.

“This will enable predictable and trustworthy data flows between the EU and US, safeguarding privacy and civil liberties,” she added, without elaborating.

An EU official familiar with the matter said it will likely take months to turn the provisional agreement into a final legal deal. The EU will likely warn foreign governments more stringently against blockading their companies off and restricting access to their markets, while using new or existing tools and enforcing customs controls.

“First, the US needs to prepare their executive order, and then we need to do our internal consultation in the Commission and within the European Data Protection Board,” the official said, referring to the EU privacy watchdog.

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