EU, US set to agree on landmark transatlantic data transfer pact

Data protection
(Image credit: Wright Studio / Shutterstock)

In an effort to make it easier for businesses to transfer data between Europe and the United States, the EU and the US have announced a new preliminary data transfer deal.

If the deal is approved, it would help companies that have found themselves in limbo after both Safe Harbor and the Privacy Shield pacts were struck down following concerns regarding US surveillance.

At a joint news conference in Brussels, US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the new preliminary agreement takes surveillance concerns into account and will offer stronger legal protections according to a new report from Reuters.

Von der Leyen provided further details on the agreement and how it will allow data to flow safely between the EU and US, saying:

"I am very pleased that we have found an agreement in principle on a new framework for transatlantic data flows. This will enable predictable and trustworthy data flows between the EU and U.S., safeguarding privacy and civil liberties."

Provisional agreement

According to an EU official familiar with the matter that spoke with Reuters, it will likely take months for the provisional agreement to be turned into a final legal deal. This because the US will need to prepare an executive order while the EU will require an internal consultation with the European Commission as well as with the European Data Protection Board.

While businesses in both the EU and the US welcomed the news that a provisional agreement had been reached, Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems wasn't too pleased. Schrems is known for his campaign about the risk of US intelligence agencies accessing the data of Europeans in a long-running dispute with Meta which led to court vetoes.

If a new agreement is reached, it will provide businesses on both side of the Atlantic with the ability to transfer, analyze and use customer data from both the EU and US while remaining compliant of data protection laws like GDPR and CCPA.

Still though, Schrems has said that he is willing to return to court if the US refuses to change its surveillance laws.

Via Reuters

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.