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European data regulator Věra Jourová. Photo: Emmanual Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Officials from the United States have entered the second day of discussions with their European counterparts in Brussels over the status of the Privacy Shield agreement, which allows Europeans to file complaints about how U.S. companies are using their data.

Why it matters: U.S. companies prize the agreement because it lets them easily host the data of European citizens stateside despite the differing regulatory regimes on the two sides of the Atlantic. This is the first time the arrangement is being reviewed since Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal triggered a privacy reckoning in the United States.

  • To satisfy European concerns, the Trump administration appointed an acting ombudsperson for the agreement and new members to a civilian privacy oversight board, known by the acronym PCLOB, which deals with law enforcement access to data.
  • The Federal Trade Commission recently settled with companies that made false claims about their involvement in the Privacy Shield certification process.

What they’re saying: "We discussed the visible progress: [PCLOB] appointments, declassification of important report about limits of US authorities in access to EU’s personal data or ongoing talks about privacy legislation in the US," tweeted European data regulator Věra Jourová after the first day of talks Thursday.

  • "We will be asking thorough questions on the Ombudsperson or vigorous enforcement," she said.

What’s next: On Friday, the group is expected to to tackle "developments concerning the collection of personal data by U.S. authorities for purposes of law enforcement or national security," per the European Commission.

  • Although the administration confirmed an acting ombudsperson, the role remains technically unfilled, and the Europeans are pushing for that role to become permanent and independent from the administration. The newly appointed ombudsperson still serves in another role in the State Department.

The bottom line: Depending on how the talks go, the European Commission concerns could be reflected in a formal report expected by the end of November.

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True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 10 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.