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U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield

Via FAS – CRS report, U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield, Martin A. Weiss, Specialist in International Trade and Finance; Kristin Archick; Specialist in European Affairs. May 19, 2016.
“Both the United States and the European Union (EU) maintain that they are committed to upholding individual privacy rights and ensuring the protection of personal data. Nevertheless, data privacy and protection issues have long been sticking points in U.S.-EU economic and security relations, in part because of differences in U.S. and EU data privacy approaches and legal regimes. In the late 1990s, the United States and the EU negotiated the Safe Harbor Agreement of 2000 to allow U.S. companies and organizations to meet EU data protection requirements and permit the legal transfer of personal data between EU member countries and the United States. The unauthorized disclosures in June 2013 of U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs and subsequent allegations of other U.S. intelligence activities in Europe renewed and exacerbated European concerns about U.S. data privacy and protection standards. The alleged involvement of some U.S. Internet and telecommunications companies in the NSA programs also elevated European worries about how U.S. technology firms use personal data and the extent of U.S. government access to such data. As a result, a number of U.S.-EU data-sharing accords in both the commercial and law enforcement sectors have come under intense scrutiny in Europe…”

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