US and the EU sign data transfer deal to abate privacy fears

The European Union and the US have signed an agreement that will help pave the way for the personal information of Europeans to be stored in the US.

According to Security Week, President Joe Biden and Ursula von der Leyen – the European Commission President – announced the deal during Biden’s stop in Brussels amidst the President’s European tour.

Biden said, “Today we’ve agreed to unprecedented protections for data privacy and security for our citizens. This new arrangement will enhance the Privacy Shield framework, promote growth and innovation in Europe and the United States, and help companies — both small and large — compete in the digital economy.”

Von der Leyen stressed that the agreement ‘will enable predictable and trustworthy data flows between the EU and the U.S., safeguarding privacy and civil liberties’.

The data includes any information that people voluntarily provide or generate when using services and products online. This includes names, geolocation data and ID numbers amongst other things.

Security Week noted that the deal stems from a complaint filed a decade ago by Max Schrems – an Austrian lawyer and privacy activist – who was concerned about how Facebook handled his data in light of revelations about US government cybersnooping from Edward Snowden.

The US and the EU said in a joint statement that the agreement addresses concerns raised by the court, with the US bringing in reforms to beef up privacy and civil liberties protections applicable to signals intelligence activities.

In addition, the US said it will put in place ‘new safeguards to ensure signals surveillance activities are necessary and proportionate in the pursuit of defined national security objectives.

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