EU-US Privacy Shield review: Jourová to meet US secretary amid compliance concerns

The EU’s Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová will sit down with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Thursday (18 October), as they launch a review of the EU-US Privacy Shield, while certain MEPs in the European Parliament remain unconvinced by the agreement.

A range of representatives from both sides of the Atlantic will come together to commence a two-day discussion, examining the necessary next steps required to ensure that the Privacy Shield is being adhered to.

The Privacy Shield agreement obliges the US to protect personal data belonging to EU citizens, while also creating a framework that allows for the safe transmission of data across the Atlantic for commercial purposes.

The agreement has been operational since 1 August 2016, but it has not been without its controversy.

In early October, MEPs from ALDE, GUE/NGL and S&D wrote to Commissioner Jourová, putting pressure on her to clarify the ‘concrete steps’ taken by the US to comply with the shield, after reports of non-compliance surfaced.

The communication followed a resolution in the European Parliament that called on the Commission to consider suspending the privacy shield until the US authorities “comply with its terms.”

However, in a recent meeting with European journalists, US ambassador to the EU said that his country is “fully compliant” with the agreement.

One of the big sticking points in the debate so far has been the Commission’s request, made as part of the first Privacy Shield review, for the “swift appointment of the Privacy Shield Ombudsperson,” who will deal with complaints in the field.

In early 2017, an acting member of staff was put in place for the role, and the US announced in September of this year that Manisha Singh had been given the role of “Privacy Shield Ombudsman.”

EURACTIV understands that since Singh’s appointment, no complaints in the field of privacy compliance between the EU and the US have been filed.

Other recommendations put forward during the first review of the privacy shield include more of a proactive monitoring of companies’ compliance with the agreement, closer cooperation with privacy enforcers, and a greater awareness of citizens’ rights protected by the privacy shield agreement.

The two-day talks this week will focus on commercial aspects of the agreement on Thursday, with meetings on Friday covering issues related to the collection of personal data by US authorities for national security.

Results of this week’s analysis are set to be published in a report at the end of November.

US 'fully compliant' with EU privacy shield, ambassador says

The United States is abiding by EU data protection rules and has an ombudsman to monitor complaints in the field, US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, said on Wednesday (3 September).

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