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The body tasked with enforcing the GDPR believes there is still work to be done in order to comply.

This week the EU’s data protection enforcer “expressed concerns” about a European Commission draft decision that would establish a new data transfer framework with the United States.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) issued a non-binding opinion saying that the proposed pact does not go far enough to protect Europeans’ privacy rights.

EDPB Chair Andrea Jelinek said: “While we acknowledge that the improvements brought to the US legal framework are significant, we recommend to address the concerns expressed and to provide clarifications requested to ensure the adequacy decision will endure”.

Third time is the charm?

The history of securing US-EU data transfers is a tortured one. The US had originally implemented a program called “Safe Harbor” that was meant to address EU privacy concerns. While the European Commission decided that the privacy protection afforded by Safe Harbor was adequate, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) subsequently ruled that the Safe Harbor protections were insufficient.

The Americans then developed a new privacy program they called Privacy Shield. But in July 2020, the CJEU again ruled that the Privacy Shield regime was inadequate – even though the EC had accepted it.

In December, the Commission issued a draft decision saying the latest proposed US safeguards against American intelligence activities were strong enough to address EU data privacy concerns.

Opposition to the new framework

Nonetheless, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs does not want the Commission to extend an adequacy decision to the proposed EU-US Data Privacy Framework (DPF). In their opinion, committee members concluded the proposed DPF “fails to create actual equivalence in the level of protection” offered under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Famous privacy activist Mx Schrems has also come out against the new framework, saying that it is unlikely to change the way US intelligence agencies operate via mass surveillance. Schrems said in a statement he “can’t see how this would survive a challenge” and the commission “just issues similar decisions over and over again — in flagrant breach of our fundamental rights.”