EU pressured to suspend data deal with US

EU pressured to suspend data deal with US
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A digital rights advocacy organization is demanding the suspension of a transatlantic data transfer agreement, citing an executive order issued by President Trump.

Access Now penned a letter Wednesday urging the European Commission to suspend the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield in response to a series of actions that it says call into question the Trump administration’s commitment to honoring Europeans’ privacy and data protection rights.

The Privacy Shield framework allows for the transfer of personal data from entities in the European Union to organizations based the United States as long as EU privacy laws are followed.


In the letter, the group points to a section of Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order intended to improve homeland security that restricts protections under the Privacy Act to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States.

The group also argues that statements made by three of Trump’s Cabinet choices — CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Manchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' MORE (R-Ala.), Trump’s nominee for attorney general; and Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHow President Biden can hit a home run Former Trump intel chief Coats introduces Biden nominee Haines at hearing Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security MORE, Trump’s nominee for director of national intelligence — indicate they may work to expand U.S. surveillance programs.

Policy changes made by the Obama administration, including its expansion of an executive order on intelligence agencies’ surveillance powers, also compelled the advocacy group to call for a suspension of the agreement.

Access Now previously opposed the Privacy Shield — which is only seven months old —accusing it of violating the laws of the European Union.

“Since the adoption of the Privacy Shield, significant changes have been introduced to U.S. law and policy that even further degrade the protections for Europeans’ data,” the organization wrote in the letter to European Commissioner Vera Jourová and EU Parliament LIBE Chair Claude Moraes.

“These developments show near-reckless disregard for the human rights of Europeans and others outside the United States and foreshadow further weakening of the already watered-down protections of Europeans’ data.”

“We encourage the European Commission to suspend the arrangement absent significant reform,” the group wrote.

The shield, which took years of negotiation, replaced the old Safe Harbor data arrangement. It will be reviewed by European regulators this summer.