European Commission

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Companies Can Now Certify

Privacy Shield

As of, August 1st, 2016, U.S. companies can now join the Safe Harbor successor EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (the “Privacy Shield”) for personal data transfers from the EU to the U.S.

This post gives a high level summary of what companies should consider with the Privacy Shield.

Background:

On July 12, 2016, the European Commission (the “Commission”) formally adopted the adequacy decision necessary to implement the Privacy Shield. This means that transfers of personal data from the EU to the U.S. that are made pursuant to the Privacy Shield’s requirements are lawful under EU law.  The Privacy Shield replaces the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Framework, which was invalidated by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) on October 6, 2015.

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EU-U.S. Privacy Shield launched by European Commission

EU-US Privacy Shield

After receiving the approval of the EU Member States, through the Article 31 Committee, last Friday, the European Commission has today, July 12th, 2016, formally adopted the Adequacy Decision necessary to implement the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (the Decision).

The Decision will be notified to Member States today and, as such, will be effective immediately.

The adoption process had stalled in recent months due to ongoing concerns about the access to personal data by public authorities in the U.S.  You can read about some of these concerns in our previous blog post.

The European Commission has received further commitments from the U.S. and has agreed clarifications and improvements on the bulk collection of data, strengthening the Ombudsperson mechanism and more explicit obligations on companies as regards limits on retention and onward transfers.  Those commitments and clarifications have been sufficient to allay the EU member states, at least for now.

The Privacy Shield is subject to an annual review mechanism.

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EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Approved by EU Member States

safe harbor

Today the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield was approved by the EU Member States, which sets the stage for the European Commission to grant final approval to the Privacy Shield as a basis for EU-U.S. transfers of personal data.

This development follows criticisms of the Privacy Shield this past April from the Article 29 Working Party, an advisory group comprised of the EU privacy regulators. We summarized the primary criticisms in a prior blog post.  The Working Party was responding to the draft adequacy decision that was released by the European Commission on February 29, 2016, which we summarized here. The revisions to the Privacy Shield are intended to address the criticisms of the Working Party but it is not yet clear if the criticisms have been fully reflected.

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EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is Go…nearly

Privacy Shield

On 29 February 2016 the European Commission issued the legal texts of the EU-U.S Privacy Shield which aims to replace the defunct EU-U.S Safe Harbor Framework as a legitimate mechanism for transferring personal data from the EU to the U.S.

In contrast to its predecessor, the Privacy Shield contains commitments from US government in relation to controls on access to personal data by public authorities. This is an aspect of the new scheme which aims to address the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union and criticisms of the previous Safe Harbor Framework.

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Safe Harbor 2.0: Political Agreement Reached – The EU-US Privacy Shield

Safe Harbor

The European Commission has announced that it has reached a deal to replace the EU-US Safe Harbor framework that was declared invalid last year by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”).  Heralded as the EU-US Privacy Shield (and colloquially referred to as, “Safe Harbor 2.0”), the framework should provide companies with clearer direction on safe transatlantic data transfer.

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EU Reaches Agreement On New Data Protection Laws

After nearly 4 years of negotiations, yesterday evening the EU reached agreement on the final provisions of its new data protection laws. With it, a new era of data protection has been ushered in that will have far reaching consequences for organisations both inside and outside of the EU.

In January 2012, the European Commission put forward its proposals for data protection reform, which included text for a new General Data Protection Regulation. Following negotiations this year with the European Parliament and the Council (the so-called ‘trilogues’ meetings), the three institutions reached final agreement on the Regulation’s provisions late last night.

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A Great Leap Forward: EU Soon to Have Broad Rules on Cybersecurity and Incident Reporting

European Union

On December 7, 2015, more than two and a half years after the first draft, the European Union Council finally reached an important, informal agreement with the Parliament on important network and information security rules (“NIS-Directive”) affecting companies across the EU.  The culmination of the European Commission’s Cybersecurity strategy effort that began in February 2013 with the European Commission’s proposed draft directive on measures to ensure a common level of network and information security.  Final adoption of the NIS-Directive will have several important consequences, including increased focus by Boards of Directors of cybersecurity risk, the need for companies to increase their investment in information security, to prepare and implement cybersecurity incident response plans, to conduct internal comprehensive investigations into the circumstances of a cybersecurity event in order to comply with forthcoming reporting obligations.

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