The White House is expected to release a privacy-focused executive order next week

The White House is expected to release an executive order on international data transfers next week, reports Politically. The order is intended “to address European concerns about surveillance practices in the United States,” Politico said.

Since 2016, the European Union and the USA have joined the so-called Privacy Shield Agreement. The agreement is intended to enable companies in the United States and Europe to “comply with data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union and Switzerland to the United States in support of transatlantic commerce”. EU Supreme Court in July 2020 dejected the Privacy Shield Agreement over fears that European data is not secure from access by American authorities.

Politically reports that the executive order will provide new legal protections for both European and American citizens in relation to how US national security agencies can access and use their data.

Peter Swire, a former chief privacy adviser to the Clinton administration and a current professor at Georgia Tech, believes the US Justice Department will set up an independent court to examine US national security agencies’ ability to access European data. “Step one is an independent decision with the Justice Department, step two is the executive order requiring intelligence agencies to follow the decisions of those judges,” Swire told Politico.

Experts also believe that the implementing regulation will not fully resolve issues related to the Privacy Shield Agreement. “Signing the implementing regulation does not mean that we will immediately have a Privacy Shield adequacy decision that would legitimize transfers of personal data out of the EU,” said dr Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna, vice president for global policies at the Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington, DC-based privacy think tank and advocacy group. “The process is still long and it will take several months before the European Commission issues an adequacy decision,” added Zanfir-Fortuna.

Kirk Nahra, privacy attorney and co-chair of the cybersecurity and privacy practice at international law firm WilmerHale, agrees that hurdles remain in the EU. “We assume that any new program will have to be approved by the EU and then be challenged [in court] even if approved” said Nahra. The White House is expected to release a privacy-focused executive order next week

Laura Coffey

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