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EU - U.S. Privacy Shield goes operational

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EU - U.S. Privacy Shield goes operational

Photo © Anatoly Vartanov - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - From 1 August, companies can sign up to the Privacy Shield with the U.S. Department of Commerce who can verify their privacy policies comply with data protection standards required by the EU-U.S. agreement signed 12 July.

As the privacy Shield came into force, the European Commission published a guide for citizens explaining how individuals' data protection rights are guaranteed under the agreement and what remedies are available to them if they consider their data has been misused and their data protection rights not respected.

Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova encouraged companies to sign up, saying the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield protected fundamental rights of Europeans and ensured legal certainty for businesses, including European companies, who transfer personal data to the U.S.

"The Privacy Shield ensures easier redress for individuals in case of any complaints," she said. "I am therefore confident that the Privacy Shield will restore the trust of Europeans in the way their personal data are transferred across the Atlantic and processed by companies there."

The controversial EU-U.S. Privacy Shield guarantees that everyone in the EU has a number of rights when their data is processed, such as the right to ask a company for further information about the data they hold about them, or to amend their records if the data are outdated or inaccurate.

They will also benefit from several accessible and affordable dispute resolution mechanisms.

Ideally, says the Commission, the complaint will be resolved by the company itself; or free of charge Alternative Dispute resolution (ADR) solutions will be offered.

Individuals are also able to go to their national Data Protection Authorities, who will work with the U.S. Department of Commerce and Federal Trade Commission to ensure that complaints by EU citizens are investigated and resolved.

If a case is not resolved by any of the other means, as a last resort there will be an arbitration mechanism.

Redress regarding possible access to personal data for national security purposes will be handled by a new Ombudsperson independent from the US intelligence services.

Further information

EU - U.S. Privacy Shield Q&A

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield - U.S. Department of Commerce


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