WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States welcomed the European Union’s draft decision on data privacy as a critical next step, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday, as the two parties try to seal a data transfer pact.
The draft decision, Raimondo said, “represents a critical next step to fully address” the concerns of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which in 2020 struck down the previous EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework as a valid data transfer mechanism under EU law.
“We are closely reviewing the draft decision,” Raimondo said in a statement. “We are committed to working with the European Commission to implement the Data Protection Board and to facilitate the transfers of personal data that benefit individuals and companies in the EU and U.S.”
The European Union took a step closer to sealing a data transfer pact with the United States on Tuesday when it issued a draft decision saying U.S. safeguards against American intelligence activities were strong enough to address EU concerns.
Both sides clinched a preliminary deal in March, encouraging thousands of companies which had found themselves in a legal morass after Europe’s top court struck down the previous data transfer accord in 2020 on concerns about U.S. intelligence agencies accessing Europeans’ data. It was the second such court veto.
President Joe Biden followed up in October with an executive order setting out new safeguards for the activities of U.S. intelligence gathering and creating a two-step system of redress, first to an intelligence agency watchdog then to a court with independent judges.
The European Commission’s justice chief Didier Reynders said the draft adequacy decision shows that U.S. safeguards offer the same level of data protection to EU citizens as that under European law.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Jonathan Oatis)