Civil Liberties Groups Point Out More Reasons Why The 'Privacy Shield' Framework For Transatlantic Data Flows Is At Risk

from the much-more-serious-than-it-looks dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about growing concerns that President Trump’s executive order stripping those who are not US citizens of certain rights under the Privacy Act could have major consequences for transatlantic data flows. Now two leading civil liberties groups — the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) — have sent a joint letter to the EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, and other leading members of the European Commission and Parliament, urging the EU to re-examine the Privacy Shield agreement, which regulates transatlantic data flows, as well as the US-EU umbrella agreement, a data protection framework for EU-US law enforcement cooperation. The joint letter calls on European politicians to take into account what the ACLU and HRW delicately term “changed circumstances” — essentially, the arrival of Donald Trump and his new agenda.

The first worry concerns the Executive Order that excluded foreigners from privacy protections. The joint letter goes into more detail about why other laws, for example, the Judicial Redress Act, are not an adequate replacement for those protections. The ACLU and HRW also raise another issue: the lack of a functioning Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). That matters, because the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said oversight was needed to ensure that EU data receives appropriate privacy and other fundamental rights protections when it is exported to other countries. The joint letter explains why effective US oversight and redress mechanisms are absent:

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, while fulfilling a valuable public reporting role, is limited in its oversight function and was not designed to provide redress concerning US surveillance practices. Thus, the PCLOB has never provided remedies for rights violations or functioned as a sufficient mechanism to protect personal data. In recent months, the situation has worsened: the PCLOB currently lacks a quorum, which strips its ability to issue public reports and recommendations, make basic staffing decisions, assist the Ombudsman created by the Privacy Shield framework, and conduct other routine business as part of its oversight responsibilities. The current administration and Senate have yet to act to fill the vacancies on the PCLOB.

Some might dismiss the letter as troublemakers stirring things up over nothing. But the Privacy Shield framework is crucial if data flows across the Atlantic are to continue as at present. Without it, or some replacement, US companies will find it much harder to move personal data out of the EU. If they do so without adequate legal safeguards, oversight and redress mechanisms in the US, they are likely to be fined by data protection officials across Europe, who are always happy to make high-profile examples of erring companies in order to encourage everyone else to comply with EU law.

Protecting the privacy of Europeans and filling vacant seats on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board are probably not priorities for the Trump administration as it settles in and grapples with multiple issues. But the European Commission has to take demands to revisit and possibly suspend Privacy Shield seriously. If the EU decides to drop the framework, as it has just threatened to do if there is a “significant change” in the US approach to EU privacy, then the consequences for US companies are likely to be so serious that even an over-stretched Trump administration will need to start paying attention.

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Comments on “Civil Liberties Groups Point Out More Reasons Why The 'Privacy Shield' Framework For Transatlantic Data Flows Is At Risk”

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21 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“Protecting the privacy of Europeans and filling vacant seats on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board are probably not priorities for the Trump administration as it settles in and grapples with multiple issues.”

And why should it? Oh right I keep forgetting “globalism”. Don’t worry, you guys are eventually going to get your “globalism” you just don’t understand at what price yet. But don’t worry, NO ONE will be around to tell you that we told you so…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

USA needs to worry about the USA, Canada needs to worry about Canada, and the EU needs to worry about the EU.

See how this works? If the USA is busy worrying about everyone else, we get what we have right now. A world slowly getting closer and closer to WAR!

But don’t let me stop you silly fucks… hopefully those that think like you are destroyed in the first round so those that know better and think like me can put an end to it. Something tells me that you want the wise people destroyed first so you can have fun with your war.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yeah I think you’re right. We need to make it so the internet only works in the United States. United States citizens shouldn’t be going to foreign servers and we need to keep those bad foreigners out of ours.

I share your sentiment friend. The United States doesn’t need to be a part of the world. And the world doesn’t need to be a part of the United States. The sooner we can eliminate the rest of the world the sooner we will be able to care about the United States to be such good again.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Look, I know you silly twits lover your condescension and sarcasm, but the simple fact is that no matter how you slice the pie, each nation needs their leaders to look after THEIR interests.

It has NOTHING to do with “privacy” anywhere because it is all just smoke and fucking mirrors! You want privacy then work on VPN type technologies end to end. The idea that you will ever get government to “protect you” is stupid as fuck and will never happen because that is not the purpose of government.

I know this is all too advanced for you, but try to keep up instead of sticking your foot in your face! Privacy and the “interoperability” of the internet with other nations is a fucking farce to get ignorant little bitches like you all worked up! And damn is it not effective?!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Careful patting yourself on the back for being one of the Enlightened Ones there, don’t want you to sprain your arm from excessive praising of your own intelligence.

You are aware that countries interact with other countries, right? That business and communications involving more than one country exist? And that so long as this occurs issues affecting business and/or communication between countries is something that affects both countries, meaning concern about that is ‘worry about the US/worry about the EU’.

Also, I’m curious as to how one gets from ‘Worry about more than a single country at a time’ to ‘Therefore WAR’, perhaps your enlightened self can illuminate that one for me.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

USA needs to worry about the USA, Canada needs to worry about Canada, and the EU needs to worry about the EU.

Yes, you know how they do that? By establishing strong trading relationships, and enabling easy travel for people, goods and services back and forth, that helps improve the lives and economies of all of those places.

In other words, that "globalism" you hate IS the USA looking after the USA.

It’s astounding that you don’t understand that. I mean, it displays a level of basic ignorance that shocks me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

u dont no wat he say properly

he sya that globziation is bad. just caus you cuck doesnt mean u know faster.

i voted trump and thats becuz i knwo what the poster saying
seeing all you liberls cry cuz your so ignornat

the poster and i are of the same cloths. we understand The Internet better thna you probaley. go back to fakebook!!!!!!!!!

JustMe (profile) says:

There simply aren't enough consumers in the US

To support the level of industrialization and manufacturing that currently exists here. An additional problem is that if, as AC keeps insisting, we are supposed to stop importing goods produced from overseas then we need to create even more factories, but economies of scale mean that either the wages will be super low or the prices for those goods will be super high. Our only hope is to t sell to the emerging middle classes in the BrIC countries.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: There simply aren't enough consumers in the US

One solution is that Trump could sign an executive order mandating that a percentage of jobs (something reasonable like 51%) in the USA must be factory jobs. I think it would also be a good idea if a law was passed that certain income brackets (middle class and below) are required to spend a certain amount (consume) of goods.

This way we can bring all the factories back to the USA and we can support them. Clearly we can’t rely on congress to do these things since the courts keeps getting in the way. So we need to also have a way for Trump to be his own court/lawmaking service.

I think it’s important to remember that this isn’t about making things better for the future but really it’s about making things great right now because that is where all the problems are. If we all come together and keep others away this is easy to do.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: There simply aren't enough consumers in the US

I’m having an increasingly harder time believing that you aren’t a poe at this point.

A mandatory percentage of jobs must be of a certain type.

People with less disposable income must spend a certain amount on certain categories of goods.

Bypass those pesky lawmakers and courts to ‘get things done’, utterly gutting that whole ‘checks and balances’ thing.

Some modest proposals to be sure.

tochd says:

Re: Re: There simply aren't enough consumers in the US

You have a good point. Why should the US have industries that create systems and software that could be sold and used around the world. Programming jobs are overrated. It does make much more sense to create subsistence level work in manufacturing for predominately rural Trump voters than to have a robust economy that includes jobs for the liberal citizens who didn’t vote for Trump.

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