Just over a year ago, the European Commission adopted the EU-US Privacy Shield adequacy decision. Soon after its adoption the Article 29 Working Party issued a statement expressing its concerns relating to matters such as the independence and powers of the Ombudsperson, the absence of concrete assurances that mass and indiscriminate collection of personal data by US intelligence agencies will not take place, as well as the absence of specific rules on automated decisions and the general right for data subjects to object. In view of these concerns, last year the Working Party identified the first Joint Review as a key moment in the assessment of the Privacy Shield mechanism.
It was recently announced that the annual Joint Review will take place in September in the United States. In a press release published on 13 June 2017, the Working Party reiterated its eagerness to receive clarification on the issues it identified in 2016 and announced that it has prepared and will send the Commission a letter outlining the Working Party’s specific queries relating to the commercial and to the enforcement and national security parts of the Privacy Shield.
The press release further revealed that the Working Party has nominated eight participants to be part of the Review team alongside Commissioners and experts at staff level and that it expects the review process to last several days so as to allow sufficient time for all necessary information to be gathered.
Finally, the Working Party expressed its desire to provide comments on the Commission’s report of the Joint Review pending its finalisation but reserved the right to publish an independent report in order to summarise its findings.