The (Un)certain Future of Transatlantic Data Flows

safe harbourThe EU-US economic relationship is the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world, with trade flows valued at over $1 trillion per year. Personal data transfers constitute an essential element of the transatlantic relationship. The legal invalidation of the so-called Safe Harbour arrangement, which provided a framework for transatlantic data transfers, caused major turmoil in recent months and put a strain on the EU-US relationship.

This week the European Commission reached a deal with the United States on a new framework for transatlantic data transfers. The EU-US Privacy Shield arrangement aims to address loopholes identified in the 2015 judgment that struck down the Safe Harbour, and provide legal certainty for both business community and citizens. However, the solidity of the new deal has already been questioned by privacy campaigners and several MEPs.

In this snapshot, we provide an analysis of the different steps that led to the establishment of the EU-US Privacy Shield and an overview of the latest developments which will impact data flows across the Atlantic going forward.

Miroslav Pospisil is Senior Consultant, Marzena Rembowski is Director at FTI Consulting Strategic Communications in Brussels; with Robbie Goffin, Senior Adviser at FTI Consulting Strategic Communications in San Francisco and Nikolas Lemke, Director at FTI Consulting Strategic Communications in Berlin

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