08:32 GMT +314 December 2019
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    Some 4,000 Firms Pledge to Comply With EU-US Privacy Shield Pact – EU Commission

    © AFP 2019 / Thierry Charlier
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Some 4,000 companies have legally committed to complying with the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement on cross-border data transfers between EU and US businesses since 2016, the European Commission stated.

    "Since the inception of the Privacy Shield program in 2016, nearly 4,000 companies have made legally enforceable commitments to comply with the Privacy Shield framework. The significant growth of the program last year highlights Privacy Shield's vital importance to transatlantic data protection and commerce," the commission’s statement on the results of the meeting between EU Commissioner Vera Jourova and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.

    The sides have discussed the decision of US President Donald Trump to nominate a "politically appointed" official from the State Dept. as the Privacy Shield ombudsperson.

    "In addition, in the wake of recent privacy incidents involving the personal data of Europeans and Americans, the U.S. and EU reaffirm the need for strong privacy enforcement to protect our citizens and ensure trust in the digital economy. Among other things, the Commerce Department will revoke the certification of companies that do not comply with Privacy Shield's vigorous data protection requirements," the statement read.

    READ MORE: EU Open to Talks on Equal Car Tariffs With US-German Minister

    The Privacy Shield pact, agreed upon in February 2016 and adopted by the European Commission in July 2016, is aimed at governing the transfer of personal data. It allows businesses to store Europeans' personal data from the HR departments' information to browsing histories on US servers. The agreement has been signed by such tech and social network giants as Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

    The pact has faced criticism from the public. The Irish High Court on October 3, 2017, ruled that there was an incompatibility of US surveillance practices with EU law and the absence of an effective remedy, including that of the post of Privacy Shield Ombudsman, and would be directing questions to the European Court of Justice to this regard.


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