The European Union and the United States are negotiating on the handling of personal data. The two world powers are looking for a way to make it possible for private data to cross the Atlantic without violating European legislation.
The talks are being spurred on by tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, as well as many smaller companies that work with data. Following revelations by Edward Snowden about the spying practices of the US government, the EU has become much stricter about the extent to which personal data of European citizens may be processed in the United States. Since then, American tech companies have been using legally questionable workarounds to continue exchanging data, in the hope of better regulation in the long run.
Finding a solution is a priority
The EU and US have wanted to find a proper solution to this problem for some time. Last year, the European Court of Justice raised ‘important questions about how to ensure the protection of privacy when data crosses the Atlantic’, writes Tech Xplore. European Commissioner Didier Reynders believes that ‘finding this solution is a priority in both Brussels and Washington DC’.
Similar deals had been made before, but were cancelled again after accusations that American security laws violated the fundamental rights of European residents. According to Reynders, this time the negotiations between the two ‘like-minded partners’ will succeed.
Existing agreements with other countries
It would not be the first agreement that the EU concludes concerning access to data of European citizens. Similar deals already exist with Japan, Switzerland, Canada and Israel. Negotiations with South Korea are also at an advanced stage, and Brussels gave the green light in February to the exchange of data with Great Britain.