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EU-US Privacy Shield Goes Into Effect

It’s certainly been a very busy past eight months, even since the EU-US Safe Harbor was declared invalid back in October 2015 by the European Court of Justice.  Without re-hashing events since then (suffice to say it’s been a long and winding road), the EC-adopted Privacy Shield went into effect yesterday (per the EC Press Release below, and at

The linked “Guide for Citizens” below is worth reviewing, so as to familiarize oneself with what the EU is expecting entities to do, and what signing up for the Privacy Shield through the U.S. Dept of Commerce will require.  Stay tuned.

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield fully operational from today


The decision on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield was adopted by the European Commission on 12 July. As of today, companies are able to sign up to the Privacy Shield with the U.S. Department of Commerce who will then verify that their privacy policies comply with the high data protection standards required by the Privacy Shield. Today, the European Commission also publishes a guide for citizenspdf(305 kB) Choose translations of the previous link explaining how individuals’ data protection rights are guaranteed under the Privacy Shield and what remedies are available for individuals, if they consider their data has been misused and their data protection rights have not been respected.

Věra Jourová, the EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield protects the fundamental rights of Europeans and ensures legal certainty for businesses, including European companies, transferring personal data to the U.S. The Privacy Shield ensures easier redress for individuals in case of any complaints. I am therefore confident that the Privacy Shield will restore the trust of Europeans in the way their personal data are transferred across the Atlantic and processed by companies there. I encourage companies to sign up and I invite citizens to find out about their rights under the Privacy Shield in the ‘citizens’ guide’ we are publishing today”.

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield guarantees that everyone in the EU has a number of rights when their data is processed, such as the right to ask a company for further information about the data they hold about them, or to amend their records if the data are outdated or inaccurate. Also they will benefit from several accessible and affordable dispute resolution mechanisms. Ideally, the complaint will be resolved by the company itself; or free of charge Alternative Dispute resolution (ADR) solutions will be offered. Individualscan also go to their national Data Protection Authorities, who will work with the U.S. Department of Commerce and Federal Trade Commission to ensure that complaints by EU citizens are investigated and resolved. If a case is not resolved by any of the other means, as a last resort there will be an arbitration mechanism. Redress regarding possible access to personal data for national security purposes will be handled by a new Ombudspersonindependent from the US intelligence services. More information on the Privacy Shield are available in the 12 July press release and Q&A , as well as in the Official Journal.

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Updated: 08/02/2016 — 11:04 am

The Author

R Santalesa

(p) 203.292.0667 (e) Richard Santalesa is based in Fairfield, Connecticut and New York City.
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