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Thursday, July 5, 2018

European Parliament Calls for Suspension of Privacy Shield

On July 4, the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution advanced by its LIBE Committee urging the European Commission to suspend the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework if the U.S. government does not fully comply with its obligations under the agreement by September 1, 2018.  The vote on the resolution was 303 to 223, with 29 abstentions, a result only marginally different than the vote on a similar resolution in April 2017, which was 306 to 240, with 40 abstentions.  Amongst the concerns driving passage of the resolution was enactment of the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (or CLOUD Act; failure to appoint a permanent Ombudsperson; failure to re-establish the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB); and the fact that both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica were Privacy Shield participants when the scandal surrounding their data massive data breach and misuse came to light.  

Responding to the vote, the European Commission stated that it intends to continue to work with the U.S. to improve the implementation of Privacy Shield, noting that some 4,000 companies are currently using it.  The second joint annual review of Privacy Shield is scheduled for this October.  If history is any guide, progress will be reported by both the EU and the U.S., the Commission will endorse the outcome, the European Data Protection Board will express its lack of satisfaction, and Privacy Shield will muddle along, until struck down, like Safe Harbor, by the CJEU.  Deja-vu all over again.

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