In December 2022, the European Commission announced that it launched the process towards the adoption of a draft Adequacy Decision for the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework which will foster trans-Atlantic data transfers between the European Union (EU) and the United States (U.S.) by ensuring an adequate level of protection for personal data.
The draft adequacy decision – which reflects the assessment by the Commission of the U.S. legal framework and concludes that it provides comparable safeguards to those of the EU – addresses the concerns raised by the Court of Justice of the European Union in its Schrems II decision of July 2020 that invalidated of the previous EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework.
The draft adequacy decision follows the signing of an Executive Order by U.S. President Joe Biden in October 2022 that – along with the regulations issued by the U.S. Attorney General – implemented an agreement in principle that was first announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President Biden in March 2022.
“U.S. companies will be able to join the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework by committing to comply with a detailed set of privacy obligations such as the requirement to delete personal data when it is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was collected and to ensure continuity of protection when personal data is shared with third parties,” according to a press release.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) grants the Commission the power to decide that a non-EU country ensures “an adequate level of protection” for personal data that is essentially equivalent to the level of protection within the EU. The effect of adequacy decisions is that personal data can flow freely from the EU to a third country without further obstacles.
The draft adequacy decision has now been published and transmitted to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) for its opinion. The draft decision concluded that the United States ensures an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred from the EU to US companies. A copy of the draft decision is available here.
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