Following a European Union Court of Justice decision of 6th October, 2015 declaring the earlier Safe Harbour framework to be invalid as a mechanism for transfers of personal  data between the EU and USA,  the European Commission and United States agreed on a new frame- work for data sharing – the Privacy   Shield.

On 29th February, 2016, the European Commission issued legal texts that provide for a new data protection system between the EU and the USA. The European Commission also published a draft decision on the adequacy of protection and the texts that will comprise the Privacy Shield between the EU and the USA, e.g. the written obligations of the US Government on the enforceability of agreements (promulgated in the US Collection of Laws), including assurances from the American side about guarantees and limitations pertaining to public agencies’ access to data. In its adequacy decision, the European Commission states that guarantees for the conveyance of data in the new system are consistent with EU personal data protection standards.

Shield operation should assure the following:

  • That strict obligations are imposed on companies andadherence rigorously enforced.
  • Clear guarantees and obligations pertaining to transparency in US Government access to personal data. The US Government has as- sured the EU in writing that the access of public agencies to data for the purpose of national security will be subject to clear re- strictions, guarantees and control mechanisms and that universal access will not be permitted.
  • Protection of the rights of EU citizens with the possibility of rem- edy: Companies will be obliged to resolve a complaint within 45 days, with the option of alternative dispute resolution. EU citizens may also take unresolved complaints to the data protection agency in their country, which will work with the US Federal Trade Commission to ensure investigation and resolution.
  • A joint annual survey conducted by the European Commission and the US Department of Commerce, which will monitor Privacy  Shield function.