The European Commission and the United States have agreed in principle on 25 March 2022 on a new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework, which will foster trans-Atlantic data flows and address the concerns raised by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Schrems II decision of July 2020.
The new Framework marks an unprecedented commitment on the U.S. side to implement reforms that will strengthen the privacy and civil liberties protections applicable to U.S. signals intelligence activities. Under the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework, the United States is to put in place new safeguards to ensure that signals surveillance activities are necessary and proportionate in the pursuit of defined national security objectives, establish a two-level independent redress mechanism with binding authority to direct remedial measures, and enhance rigorous and layered oversight of signals intelligence activities to ensure compliance with limitations on surveillance activities.
The Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework reflects more than a year of detailed negotiations between the U.S. and E.U. led by Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders. It will provide a durable basis for trans-Atlantic data flows, which are critical to protecting citizens' rights and enabling trans-Atlantic commerce in all sectors of the economy, including for small and medium enterprises. By advancing cross-border data flows, the new framework will promote an inclusive digital economy in which all people can participate and in which companies of all sizes can thrive.
The agreement is based on principles so it now remains to be seen how concretely this will be transposed into legal terms. Legal documents that will need to be adopted on both sides are expected to put in place this new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework. For that purpose, these U.S. commitments will be included in an Executive Order that will form the basis of the Commission's assessment in its future adequacy decision.
For companies it means that when the concrete terms of the framework are settled, it will be easier to have transatlantic data flows between the EU and the US, as the new legal basis for data transfers will be the adequacy decision that will follow the principle-based agreement.
More information on the agreement can be found here.