President Biden signs Executive Order to facilitate EU-US data flows

An important milestone was reached today as US President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order that makes significant changes to the US privacy framework. The signing of the Order means that the EU can now start the formal steps required for the approval of the EU-US Data Privacy Framework, commencing with preparing a draft adequacy decision.

Under the Executive Order, the US makes a commitment to conduct intelligence gathering activities only in pursuit of defined national security objectives, and to take into consideration the privacy and civil liberties of all persons, regardless of nationality or country of residence.

Complaints about US surveillance measures can be addressed to the Civil Liberties Protection Officer (CLPO) of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as a first step.

Importantly, the Executive Order also creates an independent court to hear data protection cases. The Data Protection Review Court will be established within the next 60 days.

Individuals to serve as judges on the Data Protection Review Court will be legal practitioners with appropriate experience in the fields of data privacy and national security law, but they cannot be employees of the US government.

The US and the UK today also issued a joint statement on their efforts towards adequacy. The UK welcomes the release of the Executive Order and ‘intends to work expediently to conclude its assessment, with the aim of issuing an adequacy decision that will restore a stable and reliable mechanism for US-UK data flows. The United States intends to work to designate the UK as a qualifying state under the Executive Order, assuming the conditions for such designation can be satisfied, which would enable UK individuals who submit qualifying complaints to access the redress mechanism established under the Executive Order.’