European Commission Adopts Revised Privacy Shield

    Jul 12, 2016

    National representatives of the EU, known as the Article 31 Committee, approved the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield on July 8, paving the way for its approval by the European Commission and its formal signing by European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourová and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker during the week of July 11.

    A draft of the Privacy Shield was released on February 1 but was subject to additional negotiations and revisions to address concerns raised by the Article 29 Working Party of data protection authorities, the European Parliament, and the European Data Protection Supervisor.  The Privacy Shield was proposed as a replacement for the 15 year-old Safe Harbor pact that was invalidated by the European Court of Justice last year. The old arrangement was used by more than 4,000 companies to meet Europe’s more stringent privacy requirements for handling citizens’ data. 

    According to the European Commission, the Privacy Shield will not be published until it is approved and signed. According to an analysis of the revised agreement by the law firm Greenberg Traurig, the documents that form the new Privacy Shield are an “updated version of those that were published in late February 2016.” They include a requirement that the Privacy Shield apply to personal data transferred from Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. In addition, certified companies will be required to include a provision in onward transfer contracts obligating the recipient to notify the certified company if it is unable to provide the same level of protection as required by the Privacy Shield principles. Further, certified companies will have an express obligation to delete or de-identify personal data after it is no longer relevant.

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