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By Stephanie Musal • July 20, 2016

How the EU-US Privacy Shield  saved global business

After three months of political unrest and deliberation between the United States and Europe there has finally been an agreement on how to replace the Safe Harbor standards. The basis for the delay has mainly came from a disagreement about balancing an individual’s privacy with national security obligations. The new agreement that passed is known as the US-EU Privacy Shield.

The Privacy Shield allows Google, Amazon and thousands of other businesses to move digital data between countries.  

About the New Shield:

  • Preventing generalized access: The US has agreed that public authorities will only be able to gain access to data under clear conditions.
  • Inquiring: EU Citizens can inquire if they feel their data has been misused. An Ombudsperson will be created for matters involving national intelligence.
  • Reporting: There is an obligation on US companies to report on how the EU’s data is being processed and that individual rights are guaranteed. The Department of Commerce will be responsible for monitoring a published commitment from companies, making it enforceable by US law.

In Europe privacy is as much of a fundamental right as freedom of expression. After Edward Snowden revealed, in 2013, that American intelligence agencies were spying on people worldwide, many Europeans are still unsure about the agreement because they are uncertain that it goes far enough to ensure their privacy is protected. 

However, the new deal “is a major achievement for privacy and for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic,” Penny Pritzker, the United States Commerce secretary, said in a statement. ”It provides certainty that will help grow the digital economy.”

If you are interested in learning more about the EU-US Privacy Shield, read the full press release from the European Commision here.