On April 12, 2016, the Article 29 Working Party published its Opinion on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, the successor agreement to Safe Harbor. While welcoming the new framework for data transfer to the U.S. as "a large step forward," considerable room for improvement is left, however.

Among others, there is concern whether the Ombudsperson is vested with adequate powers to exercise its duty independently. In addition, massive collection of personal data in the interests of public safety would still be possible. This violates the European principle of data minimization. In addition, limits for the period of retention of the data and arrangements for onward transfer of data from the U.S. to third countries would be lacking. Overall, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party criticizes that the agreement lacked transparency and clarity.  

German Federal Data Protection Commissioner Andrea Voßhoff welcomes the Opinion and considers it the Commission’s duty to further negotiate the agreement in order to avoid another rejection by European courts. German data protection authorities had already expressed their reservation to the new agreement in advance.  

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is set to be finally adopted in June 2016. According to EU Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová, the recommendations raised by the Article 29 Working Party should be included in the final decision. First, however, the EU Member States must approve the new agreement.  

Excitement continues to be guaranteed in this area and we will keep you updated about the latest developments.