U.S. and EU Advance Talks to Preserve Data Transfers

  • In talks that will continue next week in Brussels after a round in the U.S. this summer, the two sides hope to avert a disruption of company data transfers by resolving a long-running conflict between strict EU privacy laws and U.S. surveillance measures.
  • An EU court ruling last summer restricted how companies can send personal information about Europeans to the U.S., in part because the court found that Europeans have no effective legal redress in the U.S. Last fall, Ireland’s privacy regulator issued Facebook, which has its EU headquarters in Dublin, a preliminary draft order to suspend its transfers of European user data to the U.S., citing the court ruling.
  • Under EU law, information about Europeans can’t be sent overseas unless the country where it is being sent is deemed to give the same level of protection as the EU. The U.S. has never made that cut, but to keep data flows alive, the EU two decades ago struck a special deal with the U.S. to allow companies to keep sending data if they opt into a program to apply EU privacy principles, enforced by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
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