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Agreement on the transfer of personal data between the EU and the United States

Washington and Brussels announced on Friday that they had reached an agreement in principle on a new framework for the transfer of personal data from the European Union to the United States, crucial for the digital economy, after the invalidation of the previous system by justice. European.

The announcement, made in Brussels by US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, comes after months of negotiations. It follows the invalidation in July 2020 by European justice of the “Privacy Shield” agreement which allowed this transfer, due to fears about American surveillance programs.

“Predictable and reliable data flows between the EU and the United States”

This agreement “underlines our shared commitment to privacy, data protection and the rule of law”, said Joe Biden during a press conference with Ursula von der Leyen. It “will facilitate the economic relationship with the EU which weighs 7,100 billion dollars (about 6,400 billion euros)”, he said.

The head of the European executive welcomed this agreement. “This will enable predictable and reliable data flows between the EU and the United States, while preserving privacy and individual freedoms,” she said. “We must continue to adapt our democracies to a changing world. This is particularly true with regard to digitalisation, where the protection of personal data and privacy has become so crucial,” she underlined.

Initially, a simple complaint against Facebook

In July 2020, in a resounding judgment, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that the “Privacy Shield”, used by 5,000 American companies, including giants like Google or Amazon, did not preserve possible “interferences in the fundamental rights of the persons whose data are transferred”.

This judgment was hailed as a victory by defenders of individual freedoms but castigated by the technology giants. The case was launched by a complaint against Facebook by Austrian lawyer Max Schrems, a figure in the fight for data protection.

This decision had plunged into legal uncertainty companies operating in the EU that transfer or host data across the Atlantic. They have since resorted to alternative solutions, with more uncertain legality, to continue these transfers, while waiting for Brussels and Washington to find a more solid and sustainable system.

Source: 20minutes

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