EU privacy watchdog expects no immediate change in data protection standoff with US

One way to reconcile US rules with EU privacy laws would be to take things sector by sector, the EU data protection supervisor suggested

The European Union's top data protection watchdog expects that only a select band of U.S. IT companies will meet E.U. data protection standards for some time to come.

Under the E.U. Data Protection Directive, personal data cannot be transferred out of the E.U. unless the destination country's data protection laws are deemed adequate. To date, only a tiny number of jurisdictions have been deemed adequate: Argentina, Canada, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Israel, Switzerland and Uruguay.

There are, however, exceptions for U.S. companies that agree to abide by seven "safe harbor privacy principles" for the protection of E.U. citizens' personal data. Such data includes sensitive information such as patient records required for telemedicine.

The U.S. Ambassador to Europe, William Kennard, called for the U.S. to be given "adequate" status in a speech at the Annual European Data Protection and Privacy Conference in Brussels on Tuesday.

But European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx said at the same event that, although he would not exclude the possibility that may happen in the future, the ambassador was being a little optimistic.

Hustinx should know: He chairs the body that recommends whether a country's legal system provides adequate protection to personal data from the E.U.

After Hustinx and the E.U. member states' national data protection commissioners, collectively the Article 29 Working Party, have drawn up an opinion on a country, then the Article 31 management committee must reach a majority decision on the adequacy of data security in the destination country. The European Parliament then has 30 days to scrutinize those opinions and only when it is satisfied can the decision to award a country data-secure status be adopted by the College of Commissioners.

Hustinx said that rather than declaring a company's laws adequate outright, a sectoral approach to data adequacy might be more useful, suggesting something along the lines of the existing safe harbor plan.

Changes in U.S. legislation could also advance the country's cause. Hustinx noted that, with the re-election of President Obama, a U.S. Privacy Bill of Rights looked closer.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityeuropean commissionprivacy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?