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

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

Governments adopt UN global migration pact to help ‘prevent suffering and chaos’

This massive project in Spain is the latest milestone in Europe’s solar power boom

Continuing incarceration of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, ‘reprehensible’: UN experts

Ongoing insecurity in Darfur, despite ‘remarkable developments’ in Sudan: UN peacekeeping chief

Youth employment crisis easing but far from over

The jobs forecast is unsettled. It’s time for a reskilling revolution

How I met the Panda Woman

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Imported and EU fisheries products should be treated equally

Worth going ‘extra mile’ for a new Syrian constitution, UN envoy urges

UN chief calls for ‘far greater support’ for Cyclone Idai response

EU Commission: The banks are not obliged to finance the real economy

The European Sting @ European Business Summit 2014 – the preview

Malta: investigation risks being compromised while Prime Minister is in office

Von der Leyen on Europe Day: What does Europe mean to me and why is solidarity more valid than ever

Black Panther’s ‘General Okoye’ joins the fight against gender-based violence

Parliament elects the von der Leyen Commission

‘Provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric’ destabilizing Middle East, warns top UN official

How close is the new financial Armageddon? IMF gives some hints

Inspired by orange peel, this ‘plastic’ packaging is totally compostable

UN launches new project to address link between terrorism, arms and crime

We need to protect 30% of the planet by 2030. This is how we can do it

Cohesion Policy: EU invests €880 million to improve Poland’s railway system

‘Safe Eurobonds’: a new trick to betray the south euro area countries

The 2019 European elections: A pro-European – and young – electorate with clear expectations

Back to school: Schoolchildren to receive milk, fruits and vegetables at school thanks to EU programme

G20: Less growth, more austerity for developing countries

Why we need to rethink geo-economics to beat climate change

Why vaccines are not just for children

People are scared of artificial intelligence – here’s why we should embrace it instead

Developing countries should not be liable for emissions ‘accumulated throughout history’, key UN development forum hears

The Red Cross’s health chief explains how business must respond to coronavirus

Climate change recognized as ‘threat multiplier’, UN Security Council debates its impact on peace

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

SMEs are the most valuable partners. Here’s why

It’s not just the protests. Here’s how young people are helping the planet

‘Bring to life’ precious moments caught on film or tape, UN agency urges on World Day

The EU Spring Summit set to challenge austerity

NEC @ European Business Summit 2014: The Digitally Enabled Grid

Mirrored classroom display highlights scale of massive education crisis

Europe is designing satellites that ‘surf’ their way past space debris

European Business Summit 2014: The role of youth entrepreneurship education in EU’s Strategy for Competitiveness

In tech-driven 21st century, achieving global development goals requires closing digital gender divide

The mental domain in times of a pandemic

How regenerative agroforestry could solve the climate crisis

UN launches plan to promote peace, inclusive growth in Africa’s Sahel

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Argentina Accepts KP Amendment

Central America: drought, resulting crop losses threaten food security of two million people, UN warns

Hospitals in Yemen attacked, disrupting healthcare for thousands of vulnerable civilians

EU funds must reach media and creative sector, say MEPs

Multiprofessional action against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics

The business case for investing in sustainable plastics

Eurozone: Even good statistics mean deeper recession

The EU Commission predicts a decimated growth in the next years

Friday’s Daily Brief: UN chief in China, counter-terrorism, updates from Bangladesh, Mali and Mozambique

This start-up made doing good a business priority – and flourished

Drug laws must be amended to ‘combat racial discrimination’, UN experts say

An introduction to ‘Eco-Medical Literacy’ and its importance in shaping expert medical professionals

Here’s how to make ‘value-based healthcare’ a reality

Alexis Tsipras against internal and external “enemies” in pursue of a two-phase deal now

More Stings?

Advertising

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