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Euro-MPs greenlight EU-US data protection agreement

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Euro-MPs greenlight EU-US data protection agreement

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(BRUSSELS) - The European Parliament gave the green light Thursday to the EU-U.S. 'Umbrella Agreement' on the protection of personal data exchanged across the Atlantic for the purposes of law enforcement.

The 'Umbrella Agreement', which covers the transfer of all personal data exchanged across the Atlantic when dealing with criminal offences was signed by EU-U.S. Justice Ministers on 2 June.

It covers the transfer of personal data such as names, addresses or criminal records, which are exchanged between the EU and U.S. for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences, including terrorism.

Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP, Parliament's rapporteur for the legislation, assures that the fundamental rights of Europeans will be "better protected than they are by mere mutual recognition of today's low standards."

"The agreement is not a legal basis for data transfers", he adds, but "protects those data that are already exchanged legally. Data protection authorities can check compliance at any time."

The deal ensures that citizens on both sides of the Atlantic have the right to be informed in the event of data security breaches, have inaccurate information corrected and judicial redress at court.

It also sets limits on onward transfers of data and retention periods.

A motion to seek an opinion from the European Court of Justice on the agreement's compatibility with the EU Treaties was voted down.

The agreement will now enter into force once each party has completed necessary internal procedures. On the European Union side, this is the adoption of a decision by the Council on the conclusion of the agreement, following the European Parliament's consent vote.

EU-U.S. Data Protection "Umbrella Agreement" 
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