EU and US close to an agreement on data sharing amid European citizens’ concerns

Daniel Rosario, EC's Spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Development; and Trade, Ignacio Garcia Bercero and Dan Mullaney (from left to right) at Tenth round of EU/United States negotiations on Trade and Investment, Brussels, 13-17/07/2015 (EC Audiovisual Services, 13/07/2015).

Daniel Rosario, EC’s Spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Development; and Trade, Ignacio Garcia Bercero and Dan Mullaney (from left to right) at Tenth round of EU/United States negotiations on Trade and Investment, Brussels, 13-17/07/2015 (EC Audiovisual Services, 13/07/2015).

The European Union and the United States are close to sealing a deal on data sharing, which will affect the way banks and other businesses store data. As reported by Reuters last week, the European Commission is working with US authorities on the final details of the same commercial data-sharing deal that was frozen two years ago and then put up for renegotiation following leaks that unveiled mass surveillance practices by the USA.

15 years old story

Intended as an update of the original ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement between the two parties, which originally dates back to 2000, the proposed changes “include tougher conditions for US companies” – a document seen by Reuters shows – when sharing data with third parties. The European Commission then has been negotiating with the US since January 2014 to reform the existing agreement allowing companies to transfer data easily between the two blocks.

As Reuters reports, now the European Commission has officially demanded guarantees from the US that collection of EU citizens’ data for national security purposes would be “limited and proportionate”, as the main condition for not scrapping Safe Harbour.

Brussels concerns

This happens for a specific reason, after Brussels’ concerns were brought to light that companies could dodge the EU’s tougher data protection regime – compared to US’ one – by passing data on to another company not certified under the data-sharing deal and therefore not adhering to the same privacy standards. Under the new deal, U.S. registered companies will face stricter rules when transferring data to third parties.

Data protection and privacy have recently become important knots at the table of any EU-US negotiation. Data protection became a contentious issue in the discussions about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) above all. Especially after the LIBE (the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) adopted a strong Opinion on 31 March 2015 for the European Commission to respect EU fundamental rights such as data protection and privacy, the question is more than open now in the Old Continent.

Safe Harbour, which facilitates the everyday business activities of 3,000+ European and American companies, may face some opposition though, mainly at the European Parliament. The initial aim of completing a revised deal by the end of last summer encountered difficulties and deadlines shifted, as the European Commission basically did not feel that the United States gave enough guarantees to appease the privacy concerns at this side of the Atlantic.

Difficult EU-US negotiations

Another time, negotiations between the EU and the US result to be difficult on all accounts, and not so predictable. Indeed just a few days ago, Georg Mayer, member of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group in the European Parliament from Austria, reportedly declared that his group may vote against the EU-US deal in the final stage of negotiations.

But at the other side of the Atlantic the feelings are different. Reuters reported that Catherine Novelli, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic growth, Energy and the Environment, said that an agreement on Safe Harbour would come “very, very soon.” “We are very optimistic that we are going to be able to come to an agreement soon on Safe Harbour,” she said at a press event in Brussels last week.

Data protection laws reform

Discussions around Safe Harbour should be seen as part of a big upcoming reform of the EU data protection laws. For sure, differences between the way European and the American citizens perceive the matter are huge. Statistics released by the European Commission in 2012 revealed how Europeans are concerned about privacy and data protection, and how European trust regarding private companies that store data is low.

Low trust and high business

The 92 percent of Europeans are concerned about mobile apps collecting their data without their consent, the study revealed, while 89 percent of people say they want to know when the data on their smartphone is being shared with a third party. Also, according to the same study, 70 percent of Europeans fear that their personal data is being held by companies for other uses than the ones advertised.

What is a big concern though for citizens, sometimes may be also a big business. According to the Boston Consulting Group, the value of EU citizens’ data was €315 billion in 2011, and it could potentially grow up to nearly €1 trillion annually by 2020.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Data is the oil of the digital world. What if tech giants had to buy it from us?

Mario Draghi didn’t do it but Kim Jong-un did

We need better alignment between climate and trade. Here’s a roadmap

Plan for troop pullback ‘now accepted’ by rival forces around key Yemen port, but fighting intensifying elsewhere, Security Council warned

More hiring freedom can reduce teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas

Primary Healthcare should be strongly connected with initial education

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Tunisia coastline in need of climate cash boost

In Rwanda, high-speed drones are delivering blood to remote communities

EU unfolds strategy on the Egypt question

UN News 2018 Recap: In Case You Missed It

EU: 13 major banks may pay fines 10% of worldwide turnover

EU Budget 2020 deal: Investing more in climate action, youth and research

Syria: At least seven children killed in yet another airstrike

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Berlin to pay at the end for Eurozone banks’ consolidation

What wealth managers can learn from family dynamics

Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson: who forced the two ‘brave’ Brexiteers to quit?

New study shows close link between GVCs participation and economic development

Good grub: why we might be eating insects soon

Children as old as 12 can benefit from an afternoon nap

Hungary: Commission takes next step in the infringement procedure for non-provision of food in transit zones

Traditional finance is failing millennials. Here’s how investing needs to change

The EU Parliament sidesteps the real issues about banks, while the US target the Eurozone lenders

Desires for national independence in Europe bound by economic realities

Iran-US attack in Iraq: Guterres pledges ‘active engagement’ in further de-escalation efforts

Superbugs: MEPs advocate further measures to curb use of antimicrobials

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

Libya: UN Mission condemns deadly attack against police in country’s south-east

Banks get trillions and the unemployed ECB’s love…

The European Sting’s 2018 in most critical review

Finnish Prime Minister calls for a more united EU of concrete actions

These countries have the most powerful passports

Slovakia and its failure to abide by the European law

What happens when the Eurogroup decides to help Greece

“The winner is who can accelerate the transition to a new digital era”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015: a Digital Europe 4.0

EU job-search aid worth €9.9m for 1,858 former Air France workers

MEPs push for high ambitions at the COP25 in Madrid

UN welcomes ‘milestone’ release of 833 Nigerian children from anti-Boko Haram force

How has tech been used for good in civil society? We asked the experts

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

‘Negative forces’ at work in DR Congo threaten ‘largely peaceful’ relations across Great Lakes region, says outgoing UN envoy

4 steps towards wiping out cervical cancer

FROM THE FIELD: Gaza men advocate for an end to early marriage

Civil society can make sure no one is left stranded by the skills gap

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

ECB is about to lend trillions to banks

‘Act now with ambition and urgency’ to tackle the world’s ‘grave climate emergency’, UN chief urges UAE meeting

3 charts that show how global carbon emissions hit a record high in 2018

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

Tech companies are changing, for the better

4 lessons on human cooperation from the fight against Ebola

Alcoholic drinks: Commission tables update of rules governing alcohol excise duties

European Young Innovators Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: Europe for StartUps, vision 2020

MFF: Commission’s plan “impossible to implement” with Finnish proposal

A third of young people polled by UN, report being a victim of online bullying

Estonian Prime Minister Ratas: Europe is a thought that must become a feeling

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

Be a part of the World Forum on Future Trends in Defence and Security

The unpleasant truth of plastic straws

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s