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November 30, 2015

EU seeks more power for national privacy regulators in new US data pact

News: The new trans-Atlantic data sharing pact is expected to be signed in the next three months.

By CBR Staff Writer

The European Union (EU) is planning to give national privacy regulators more authority in a new trans-Atlantic data sharing agreement with the US.

The European Court of Justice recently ruled that the existing EU-US agreement is invalid, citing concerns on mass US surveillance.

More than 4,000 US and European firms used the earlier agreement, dubbed Safe Harbour.

Negotiations are being carried out for a new framework, allowing data transfers from Europe to the US, which otherwise require lengthy legal processes in line with EU data protection law.

Citing three people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported that the European Commission is looking for ways to give national privacy watchdogs more authority to address the court’s concerns.

The new framework must meet the requirements identified in the court ruling, with respect to limitations and safeguards on access to personal data by the US public authorities.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was given responsibility to monitor whether the companies are following the Safe Harbour privacy principles or not. The authority however does not address individual complaints.

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The sources said a larger role for European watchdogs would enable citizens to complain directly to their national authorities.


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