AmCham Macedonia Winter 2016 (issue 48) | Page 13

ANALYSIS U.S.-EU Reach New Agreement on Data Transfers On 6 October 2015, the European Court of Justice invalidated the 15 year old “Safe Harbour” agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Union that regulated the way that U.S. companies could export and handle the personal data of European citizens. Since that time, roughly 4,500 companies that used the agreement – including global tech and internet giants – have been left in limbo. On February 2, 2016, a new agreement was reached, called the Privacy Shield pact. According to a European Commission press release1, The new arrangement will provide stronger obligations on companies in the U.S. to protect the personal data of Europeans and stronger monitoring and enforcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), including through increased cooperation with European Data Protection Authorities. The new arrangement includes commitments 1 by the U.S. that possibilities under U.S. law for public authorities to access personal data transferred under the new arrangement will be subject to clear conditions, limitations and oversight, preventing generalised access. Europeans will have the possibility to raise any enquiry or complaint in this context with a dedicated new Ombudsperson. In response to the announcement, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, Myron Brilliant, warned that: While the agreement represents a critical first step, businesses need sufficient time to review it and imple Y[