After the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) declared the Safe Harbour Decision invalid in its judgement of 6 October 2016, the European Commission and the United States now have agreed on a new framework for transatlantic data flow: the EU-US Privacy Shield. The new framework aims to protect the fundamental rights of European citizens where their data is transferred to the United States and to ensure legal certainty for businesses.

According to yesterday's press release of the European Commission, the new framework includes:

  • Strong obligations on companies handling Europeans’ personal data and robust enforcement;
  • Clear safeguards and transparency obligations on U.S. government access;
  • Effective protection of EU citizen’s rights with several redress possibilities.

Although an agreement has been reached on the principles, nothing is finalised yet. A draft “adequacy decision” will be prepared in the coming weeks, after which the Article 29 Working Party and a committee composed of representatives of the EU Member States will be consulted before submission of the arrangement for approval of the College of Commissioners of the European Commission and the US. In the meantime, the US will make the necessary preparations to put the new framework in place.

The Article 29 Working Party announced today that it welcomes the EU-US Privacy Shield and that Model Clauses and Binding Corporate Rules remain valid for the time being.

Read more about the new framework in the press release of the European Commission