In an effort to make it easier for companies to transfer data between Europe and the United States, the EU and the US have announced a new preliminary data transfer agreement.
If approved, the deal would help businesses that found themselves in limbo after both the Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield pacts were lifted over concerns about US oversight.
At a joint press conference in Brussels, US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the new preliminary agreement addresses surveillance concerns and will provide stronger legal protections, according to a new Reuters report. offer.
von der Leyen gave further details about the agreement and how it will allow data to flow securely between the EU and the US, saying:
“I am very pleased that we have reached an agreement in principle on a new framework for transatlantic data flows. This will enable predictable and reliable data flows between the EU and the US, while guaranteeing privacy and civil liberties.”
According to an EU official familiar with the matter and who has spoken with Reuters, it will likely take months to convert the preliminary agreement into a final legal deal. This is because the US needs to prepare an executive order, while the EU needs an internal consultation with the European Commission and the European Data Protection Board.
While companies in both the EU and the US welcomed the news that a tentative deal had been reached, Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems wasn’t too happy. Schrems is known for campaigning about the risk of US intelligence accessing Europeans’ data in a long-running dispute with Meta that led to court vetoes.
If a new agreement is reached, it will allow companies on both sides of the Atlantic to transfer, analyze and use customer data from both the EU and the US, while complying with data protection laws such as GDPR and CCPA.
Still, Schrems has said he is willing to return to court if the US refuses to change its surveillance laws.