New Safe Harbor Data “Deal” May Be More Politicking Than Surveillance Reform

EU and American flag. (photo: AP)
EU and American flag. (photo: AP)


Jenna McLaughlin | The Intercept | Reader Supported News | February 4, 2016

obbyists, government officials, and technology executives celebrated news from Strasbourg on Tuesday morning that the European Commission and the United States had reached an agreement to reinstate the free flow of massive amounts of data between companies in the United States and the European Union, safeguarding users’ privacy at a new level.

But while some cheered the new agreement, dubbed the “Privacy Shield,” and thanked negotiators for providing “certainty” to businesspeople who deal in big data, many were quite a bit more skeptical of its success and said they would reserve final judgment until the agreement is formally spelled out on paper, which could take weeks or months.

The Article 29 Working Party — a data protection authority set up the European Parliament — said on Wednesday morning that it was pleased an agreement had been reached, but expressed concerns about the commitment of the United States — especially regarding the scope of its surveillance activities and relevant legal remedies available to all people. The party said it would not formally weigh in until the text of the agreement surfaces, and assigned a new deadline to release it: the end of February.

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