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New transatlantic data transfer deal sealed with ‘written assurances’ of US spying limitations

New transatlantic data transfer deal sealed with ‘written assurances’ of US spying limitations

© Sigtryggur Ari
The US and the EU have agreed on new rules for sharing personal data across the Atlantic that will allegedly better protect Europeans’ privacy from US intelligence agencies after the previous Safe Harbour mechanism was deemed inadequate.

“We have agreed with our US partners a new framework that will ensure the right checks and balances for our citizens,” said digital commissioner Andrus Ansip at a press conference in Strasbourg. The vital deal, called the ‘Privacy Shield’ was reached months after the so-called Safe Harbour agreement was annulled by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in October last year.

The new “Privacy Shield”, the EU Commission believes, abides by the ECJ requirements to ensure stronger obligations that American companies, such as Facebook and Google, protect the personal data of Europeans. The new framework is expected to be in place in three months.

“The US side has clarified that they do not carry out indiscriminate mass surveillance of Europeans,” said Ansip, claiming that the US intelligence activities underwent “substantial internal reviews.” Furthermore, the American side has provided written assurances ruling out indiscriminate mass surveillance of personal data.

“We have for the first time received detailed written assurances from the United States on the safeguards and limitations applicable to US surveillance programs,” noted Ansip.

According to justice commissioner Vera Jourova, written assurances would include guarantees from the office of the director of national intelligence in the White House.

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