On September 27, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced proposed settlement agreements with four companies it alleges violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by misrepresenting their certification status and compliance with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. This latest set of enforcement actions brings the FTC’s Privacy Shield related enforcement to settlements with eight defendants since the framework was adopted in July 2016 and it also introduced a couple of new FTC models of Privacy Shield enforcement.
With the current focus on the coming into effect of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, one could (almost) be forgiven for forgetting about the question of international data flows. However, given the political and legal developments currently affecting the future of international data transfers, that would be a very serious strategic mistake. Legitimising data globalisation remains a top business priority in our uber-digitised world. The coming of age of cloud-based services, the continuous advance of mobile communications and the push by developed and developing countries to reach a global market have made international data transfers more essential than ever. At the same time, the level of regulation affecting those transfers is becoming more impenetrable and politically charged. Against this background, what are the issues that need to be taken into account to develop a solid global data flows legal strategy?
Don’t miss out on key events from our Privacy and Cybersecurity team in March 2018. This month, our team will be discussing a variety of privacy and cybersecurity issues ranging from autonomous vehicle privacy to GDPR compliance. We hope you can join us!
Please join us for our Upcoming 2018 Privacy and Cybersecurity Events.
Hot on the heels of the European Commission’s official review of the functioning of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework, the Article 29 Working Party of EU data protection regulators has issued its own report on the matter. The summary of findings by the Working Party, which draws from both written submissions and oral contributions, begins by commending U.S. authorities for their efforts in establishing a procedural framework to support the operation of Privacy Shield but quickly shifts to the Working Party’s concerns. Should the concerns not be addressed by the time of the second joint review, the Working Party notes that its members will “take appropriate action,” including bringing a Privacy Shield adequacy decision to national courts for reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling.
Please join us for our November 2017 Privacy and Cybersecurity Events.
Last Wednesday, President Trump signed an immigration-related Executive Order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” that, among other things, removed the ability of federal agencies to extend protections under the Privacy Act to anyone other than U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Some initial observers have suggested that this means that the U.S. government is pulling back from its commitments to provide privacy protections to EU citizens, thus putting in peril the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. Upon closer examination, however, the Executive Order does not impact any of the U.S. commitments under the Privacy Shield, nor does it revoke protections for EU citizens under the Privacy Act provided pursuant to the Judicial Redress Act.
The February 29, 2016 announcement of the new EU-U.S. data transfer framework—the Privacy Shield—was accompanied by over 130 pages of documentation and significantly more operational details than its predecessor, Safe Harbor. We have reviewed the Privacy Shield materials and published a comprehensive breakdown of the changes from Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield and the practical impact on business: Inside the New and Improved EU-U.S. Data Transfer Framework.