MEPs adopt sensible resolution on EU-US data flows and Privacy Shield

26-May-2016 @ 16:00

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The European Parliament has today adopted a resolution that will give businesses and individuals clarity over the flow of transatlantic data, Conservative shadow rapporteur Timothy Kirkhope MEP, said after the vote.

The parliament was giving its opinion on the recent agreement of 'Privacy Shield' between the EU and USA, replacing the old 'Safe Harbor' agreement, which had been struck down by the European Court. Privacy Shield imposes strong obligations on US companies to protect EU citizens' personal data, with requirement for strong monitoring and enforcement of these protections by US authorities, working with European data protection authorities.

The annulment of its predecessor, Safe Harbor, created considerable uncertainty for both businesses and consumers regarding the transfer of data for online platforms, social media and the fight against terror and serious crime.

MEPs adopted a resolution that generally welcomed the new agreement, but called for some clarifications to be made based on proposals put forward by the EU's Working Party on data protection.

Mr Kirkhope said: "Privacy Shield needs some clarifications as to how it will work in practice, which the Commission has said it is pursuing, but getting the privacy shield up and running swiftly is essential for businesses operating across the Atlantic. Businesses and consumers were left in legal limbo and uncertainty when Safe Harbor was rejected. It is about time that the businesses and their clients have legal certainty.

"The new Privacy shield represents the highest data protection and redress rights ever negotiated between the EU and the US and this can only increase confidence in our economic relationship.

"There were forces on the left of the parliament that wanted to see no agreement with the USA, or see it automatically suspended after just a couple years. This is simply not credible from a legal or economic standpoint. Thankfully, the majority of the parliament has managed to produce a position that is based on common sense, rather than anti-American dogma."

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