EU-US Privacy Shield review underway and report expected in late October

Speaking at the 39th International Conference of Privacy Commissioners in Hong Kong on 25 September, Shannon Coe from the US Department of Commerce explained that the US stakeholders had a two-day discussion with the European Commission and eight EU DPAs last week. The Privacy Shield review was an exchange of views and experience on the department's administration of the programme, and also industry experience.

"We facilitate companies who want to sign up. We discussed how we review these companies. There have also been a handful of companies that have left the programme. Our engagement with our DPA colleagues was also discussed," Coe said.

On the second day, the focus was on issues related to the US government’s access to data. Finally there was a discussion about the ombudsman mechanism. An acting Ombudsman has been appointed with all the powers and resources entitled to her, Coe explained.

Bruno Gencarelli, Head of the European Commission’s International Data Transfers and Data Protection Unit, said that the Privacy Shield is a success from their viewpoint in terms of the numbers who have signed up, and that the Shield is meant to last.

He said that the review is a condition of its continuity, and has to be a meaningful exercise, not a formality. The parties have held detailed discussions and the Commission will issue its review most likely in the second half of October.

"The White House has issued a statement expressing support for the system. This is a strong indication about our commitment," Coe said.

Read more about the proceedings at this conference in the October edition of Privacy Laws & Business International Report.