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Friday, July 8, 2016

Article 31 Committee Approves Privacy Shield

On July 8, the Article 31 Committee, comprised of ministerial representatives of the 28 EU member states, approved the revised version of the EU-US Privacy Shield. Four member states abstained from the vote:  Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia. Ratification by the College of Commissioners is expected on Monday, followed shortly by the official launch of the new data transfer framework by EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

According to the European Commission, the arrangement “is fundamentally different” from the former “safe harbor” pact because “it imposes clear and strong obligations on companies handling the data and makes sure that these rules are followed and enforced in practice.”  Critics claim that the agreement will not withstand legal challenges - for example, Max Schrems was quoted as saying "they walked a mile but they should have walked one hundred miles" - which may dissuade many US companies from participating in it.

The complete 158-page text of the Privacy Shield agreement, in an undated and unofficial version, is available here

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