US and European leaders reach agreement on transatlantic data privacy

United States and European Union leaders said on Friday they had reached an “agree in principle” to ensure it is legal to transfer personal data across the Atlantic, after a previous pact was broken when a court found it was illegal to transfer personal data across the Atlantic. didn’t do enough to protect. Europeans from US surveillance programs.

President Biden said at a news conference in Brussels that the agreement included “unprecedented data privacy and security protections for our citizens.”

The deal includes a way for Europeans to object if they feel their privacy has been violated, including through an “independent Data Protection Review Court,” the White House said in a fact sheet released after the press conference. The deal has yet to be finalized, the United States and the European Commission said in a joint statement, adding that the White House would include its commitments in an executive order.

Companies that send data from the European Union to US servers have pushed governments hard to reach a new deal. Since the last pact was signed more than 18 months ago, regulators in European countries have said that companies should not use certain web services, such as Google Analytics and Mailchimp, as it could violate Europeans’ privacy rights.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said earlier this year it could close its services in Europe if governments don’t resolve their disputes. Google’s top attorney had urged “quick action to restore a practical framework that both protects privacy and promotes prosperity”.

Friday’s announcement is the latest in a lengthy debate about how far governments and tech companies should go to protect user privacy. The European Supreme Court has twice rejected pacts regulating transatlantic data flows between the United States and the European Union over concerns that the data would be exposed to US surveillance programs.

“As concerns about global internet fragmentation mount, this agreement will help keep people connected and services running,” said Nick Clegg, the president of global affairs at Meta, wrote on Twitter† “It will provide invaluable security for US and European companies of all sizes, including Meta, who rely on fast and secure transfers of data.”

But it was unclear whether the new pact would be enough to address the concerns of privacy activists. Max Schrems, an activist whose group Noyb (as in: “none of your business”) has led to attempts to invalidate the transatlantic agreements, said in a statement that he was skeptical of the deal and that his organization would not disclose details. would analyze carefully.

“If it doesn’t comply with EU law, we or another group will probably challenge it,” he said.

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