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Breakthrough in US data protection negotiations

The USA has announced its intention to pass legislation which will allow European Union citizens not domiciled in the US to enforce their data protection rights. European Union Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship welcomed the announcement.

Breakthrough in US data protection negotiations © Benjamin-Duda-Fotolia

Breakthrough in US data protection negotiations © Benjamin-Duda-Fotolia

Data protection

The USA has announced its intention to pass legislation which will allow European Union citizens not domiciled in the US to enforce their data protection rights.

The announcement came following a joint Justice and Home Affairs ministerial meeting in Athens and after the Obama administration expressed its interest in extending US citizen privacy law rights to EU citizens.

With the NSA affair fresh in her mind, Viviane Reding stated, “This is an important first step towards rebuilding trust in our transatlantic relations”.

The decision to grant a right of redress under US data protection law to EU citizens flanks a wider deal known as a ‘Data Protection Umbrella Agreement’. This agreement will seek to strengthen the framework for exchanging personal data between the USA and the European Union in the field of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The agreement encompasses the exchange of flight passenger data and banking information.

Before the Data Protection Umbrella Agreement can be adopted a range of issues must be agreed, including the precise scope, defining the use of personal data and defining the protection of sensitive data. Also, some opposition remains, as the exchange of intelligence data remains outside the scope of the agreement.

Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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