EU LIBE committee still critical about EU-US Privacy Shield

“Deficiencies still remain and must be urgently resolved to ensure that the Privacy Shield does not suffer from critical weaknesses”, says Claude Moraes, Chair, the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE), who last week for the first time met the new US administration responsible for administering the scheme.

While both sides reiterated their continued commitment to make the agreement work, there are issues to be resolved: “As already emphasized by the European Parliament in April, several key positions still need to be filled under the new US administration in order to meet the conditions of the adequacy decision. These would include some of the necessary functions of the Federal Trade Commission, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that is currently lacking four of its five commissioners and the Ombudsperson, who is currently only in an acting capacity,” Moraes said.

MEPs also drew attention to open questions on the commercial aspects of the Privacy Shield as well as the ongoing review of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Presidential Policy Directive 28 and law enforcement issues, which are essential components of the US commitments.

“These deficiencies must be addressed immediately to ensure that the Privacy Shield complies with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the new EU data protection rules entering into force in May next year. Only this way can it be ensured that the Privacy Shield will stand the test of time and serve its purpose which is so urgently needed,” Moraes stated.

The MEPs met with US authorities (Departments of State, Justice, Treasury, Homeland Security, Commerce, and the Federal Trade Commission), Congressional representatives, academics and representatives of civil society.

The EU Data Protection Commissioners are due to issue their assessment of how the agreement is working by the end of the year.