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    European Parliament Approves U.S. Law Enforcement Data Protection Agreement

    Dec 12, 2016

    The U.S.-EU umbrella agreement on the protection of information sent across the Atlantic for law enforcement purposes was approved by the European Parliament on December 1, putting in place a comprehensive framework that will protect personal data exchanged between the European Union and the United States for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of criminal offenses, including terrorism.

    “After years of negotiations, we concluded a unique agreement that guarantees a high level of protection to EU citizens' personal data transferred to judicial and police authorities across the Atlantic,” said EU Justice Commissioner VÄ›ra Jourová in a statement following the European Parliament’s consent vote. “A major novelty is that the U.S. will grant all EU citizens the right to enforce their data protection rights in U.S. courts, a right that U.S. citizens already enjoy in Europe.”

    According to a Commission fact sheet, privacy protections that will be guaranteed by the "umbrella agreement" when personal data is exchanged between police and criminal justice authorities include clear limitations on the use of data, prior consent of the competent authority for the transfer of personal data to a third country or international organization, limits on retention periods, the right of an individual to access his or her personal data and rectify inaccuracies, a breach notification mechanism, and the right of EU citizens to seek judicial redress and enforceability of rights.

    The agreement is expected to enter into force in the next few weeks, following the adoption of a decision by the Council, and once the United States makes the necessary designations under the Judicial Redress Act.

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