As the United States and the European Union (EU) negotiate terms for a replacement to the Safe Harbour agreement, a suspension clause has been inserted into the proposed revised document that would authorise the EU to suspend the transfer agreement should it suspect the US of not doing enough to guarantee the privacy of individuals' personal information.
The original Safe Harbor agreement, which was invalidated in October by the EU high court, allowed more than 4,000 US businesses to "self-certify" they were adhering to strict privacy controls when handling the data of European citizens. Concerns over US government surveillance activities, as revealed by Edward Snowden's release of classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents, led to the EU. The court said the original pact prioritised the interests of American authorities above the security of citizens' data.
Europe, which has always had stricter privacy controls than in the US, is insisting the new arrangement further bolster privacy controls.
European agencies challenged the US and EU to agree by next month on a new data-sharing pact.