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EU, US sign shared law enforcement data deal

05 June 2016, 15:48 CET
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EU, US sign shared law enforcement data deal

Lynch - van der Steur - Photo EU Council

(AMSTERDAM) - The EU signed an 'umbrella' deal on protection of shared data with the United States Thursday, putting in place a comprehensive data protection framework for criminal law enforcement cooperation.

The agreement improves, in particular, EU citizens' rights by providing equal treatment with US citizens when it comes to judicial redress rights before US courts.

Dutch minister Ard van der Steur signed for the EU presidency, Commissioner Vera Jourova for the Commission and Attorney General Loretta Lynch on behalf of the US authorities.

"This agreement symbolises the values the United States and the European Union share," said Mr Van der Steur. "It will improve cooperation between US and European Law enforcement authorities when combating serious crime and terrorism. It will advance the full respect for fundamental rights whenever personal data is being transferred between us."

The agreement covers all personal data exchanged between police and criminal justice authorities of the EU member states and the US federal authorities for the purpose of prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences, including terrorism.

The agreement will facilitate criminal law enforcement cooperation while, at the same time, providing safeguards and guarantees of the legality of data transfers. Those include, for example, provisions on clear limitations on data use, the obligation to seek prior consent before any onward transfer of data, the obligation to define appropriate retention periods, the right to access and rectification, etc.

The agreement will complement existing and future EU-US and member state-US agreements between law enforcement authorities. It is not in itself a legal instrument for any transfer of personal information to the US but it supplements, where necessary, data protection safeguards in existing and future data transfer agreements or national provisions authorising such transfers.

Following signature, the European Parliament now needs to give its consent before the agreement can be finally concluded.

Data protection in law enforcement

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