December 4, 2022

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order to implement a new framework to protect the privacy of personal data shared between the US and Europe, the White House announced Friday.

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The new framework fills a critical gap in data protection across the Atlantic since a European court overturned the previous version in 2020. The court found that the US had too much capacity to survey European data transferred through the earlier system.

The court case, known as Schrems II, “created enormous uncertainty about the ability of companies to transfer personal data from the European Union to the United States in conformity with EU law,” said the then deputy assistant commerce secretary. James Sullivan wrote in one. public Letter immediately after the decision. The results made it so, Sullivan wrote, that US companies would be required to use various “EU-approved data transfer mechanisms” on an ad-hoc basis, creating further complexity for businesses.

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The so-called Privacy Shield 2.0 seeks to address European concerns of surveillance by US intelligence agencies. In March, after the US and EU agreed in principle to a new framework, the White House said fact sheet That the US is “committed to implementing new security measures to ensure that signals intelligence activities are necessary and proportionate in pursuit of defined national security objectives.”

The new framework will allow individuals in the EU to seek redress through an independent Data Protection Review Court made up of members outside the US government. According to the March fact sheet, “that body shall have full authority to decide on claims and to direct remedial measures as necessary.”

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Before a matter reaches the DPRC, the Civil Liberties Protection Officer in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will also conduct a preliminary investigation of complaints. Its decisions are also binding, subject to evaluation by an independent body.

The executive order directs the US intelligence community to update policies and procedures to fit the new privacy protections into the framework. It directs the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent agency, to examine those updates and conduct an annual review of whether the intelligence community has fully complied with binding deterrence decisions.

“The EU-US Data Privacy Framework includes a strong commitment to strengthen privacy and civil liberties safeguards for Signals Intelligence, which will ensure the privacy of EU personal data,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters on Thursday.

Raimondo said she would provide a series of documents and letters from relevant US government agencies to her EU counterpart, Commissioner Didier Reynders, outlining the operation and enforcement of the framework.

The White House said the EU would “determine the adequacy” of the measures. It will assess the adequacy of data protection measures to restore the data transfer mechanism.

— CNBC’s Chelsea Cox

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See: Why is the US government questioning your online privacy?