Following negotiations between EU and US officials, the Privacy Shield agreement has been approved by the EU's 28 member states on Friday 8 July. Formal adoption should commence this week.
“Both consumers and companies can have full confidence in the new arrangement, which reflects the requirements of the European Court of Justice. Today's [last Friday] vote by the Member States is a strong sign of confidence,” said European Commission VP Andrus Ansip and justice commissioner Vera Jourová in a joint statement.
The vote clears the path for adoption by the Commission and demonstrates the strength of support the deal has from national governments. The agreement underlines the importance of data flows to transatlantic trade. Policymakers are urged to continue keeping in mind that data and trade go hand in hand in today's global economy.
“Lawmakers and institutions are not the only ones holding businesses accountable when it comes to data privacy – companies must also answer to their customers. As data becomes the linchpin of business success, consumers are growing increasingly wary of how their personal information is being used,” said Richard Lack, director of sales, EMEA at Gigya.
Not all Member States agreed as four chose not to vote for approval. According to Politico, the four abstaining countries were Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria.
Furthermore, chief European spokesperson Nigel Hawthorn of Skyhigh Networks argues that despite the announcement, the Privacy Shield's journey is far from being complete. In emailed comments to SCmagazineUK.com, Hawthorn said, “There's no doubt that this agreement will be challenged immediately if it comes into force and the EU Court will ultimately decide if it is lawful. In the meantime, businesses have to move forward and European customers are increasingly voting with their wallets by signing up with cloud services hosting data in the EU or encrypting data before uploading it to the cloud, thus ensuring data never leaves the EU.”