EU-US Data Flows: Bridging The Cultural Divide?

Author:Ms Jane Bentham and Nick Graham

After four years of negotiations, the EU and US have reached an agreement that will protect EU citizens' personal data when shared for law enforcement purposes. The "Umbrella Agreement" covers all personal data (e.g. names, address, criminal convictions) exchanged between the EU and the US for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences, including terrorism. Crucially, it must not be used for further incompatible purposes. This will be a welcome development after Edward Snowden's revelations of US government snooping on EU citizens in 2013. The agreement aims to "rebuild trust in EU-U.S. data flows" by putting in place "a comprehensive high-level data protection framework" between EU and US law enforcement bodies.

However, the EU Commission has said that it will not sign the agreement until the US passes legislation giving EU citizens the same "right to judicial redress" which US citizens enjoy. This will not only cover situations where EU citizens' personal data is shared with US authorities, but also where US authorities deny access or rectification to EU data...

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