Oct 7, 2022 - Technology

Biden administration unveils new EU-U.S. transatlantic privacy pact

Illustration of a the stars on a plugged in EU flag turned on and glowing.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday implementing a new privacy framework for data being shared between Europe and the United States.

Why it matters: Data flowing between Europe and the U.S. is of major importance to international businesses that work with customers across the Atlantic.

  • The March deal between Biden and European Commission President von der Leyen follows two previous agreements which failed after being challenged and struck down by a European court.
  • The legality of such data transfers, which the White House said are "critical to enabling the $7.1 trillion EU-U.S. economic relationship," has been in flux for years.

Details: The executive order adds new safeguards for U.S. intelligence activities, taking privacy and civil liberties into account, and introduces new privacy requirements for data collection.

  • It establishes a process for non-U.S. citizens to file complaints if they are concerned their personal information has been improperly collected by the U.S. intelligence community.
  • That process starts with the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence, who will forward valid complaints to a new data privacy court inside the Justice Department to investigate.

What they're saying: "This is a culmination of our joint efforts to restore trust and stability to transatlantic data flows, and is a testament to the enduring strength of the U.S.-EU relationship and our shared values," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters.

  • "By ensuring a durable and reliable legal basis for transatlantic data flows, We've paved the way for a more inclusive digital economy that will benefit American consumers and small businesses alike."
  • "It actually creates a better set of circumstances, greater certainty for companies who want to transfer data," John Miller, senior vice president of policy at tech industry group Information Technology Industry Council told Axios. "We actually have changes in U.S. law and not just practice."

What's next: The new agreement could be challenged again, but senior administration officials told reporters in a call they're confident this deal, with its new structure and requirements at different levels of U.S. government, satisfies the demands of European Court of Justice, the EU's high court.

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