SAFE HARBOUR 2.0, otherwise known as the Privacy Shield data sharing agreement, has undergone final amendments and could come into force next month.
The new data sharing agreement between Europe and the US came about after the original Safe Harbour arrangement was deemed invalid in October because the privacy of European citizens' data could not be guaranteed.
Privacy Shield has run into numerous problems, too. European Data Protection Supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli raised concerns last month about the data-sharing pact, claiming that it did not stand up to proper legal scrutiny.
What's more, EU data protection authorities warned in April that the deal's protections were still not good enough and did little to counter the risk of "massive and indiscriminate collection of personal data originating from the EU".
The agreement has since been tweaked to include a promise from the US regarding the treatment of EU data. The US has agreed in principle that the bulk collection of data from the EU can happen only if the conditions of the data have been agreed before any transfer.
Any collection must be "as targeted and focused" as possible to avoid large amounts of EU citizens' data being stored in the US under the noses of the National Security Agency.
The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence will also have to provide a commitment that the data collected on EU citizens will not be used for mass surveillance.
In addition, companies must delete retained data when it is no longer required for the purpose for which it was collected.
A US ombudsman will be set up to oversee complaints relating to the data-sharing pact, and will have to operate independently from the US security services. The EU and US will also have to undertake annual reviews of the system.
If EU member states are all in agreement, the Privacy Shield could come into force as early as July.
However, the UK's decision to quit the EU means that the legislation will not directly affect this country, much in the same way as the General Data Protection Regulations no longer apply.
The UK is likely to have to mirror much of the legislation in its own data-sharing pacts with the US and the EU, which could take a number of years to formulate. µ
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