#Public Sector

European Commission drafts steps to restore faith in EU-US data flows

By  | 

The European Commission has outlined draft steps that it believes will pave the way for restoring faith in EU-US data flows following revelations about NSA spying activities under its PRISM programme.

European Commission notes that spying of its citizens, companies and leaders is unacceptable and that citizens of US and EU need to be reassured about protection of their data while companies need to be reassured that the existing agreements between the two regions are both respected and enforced.

Viviane Reding, Vice President and EU’s Justice Commissioner, said, “Today, the European Commission is setting out actions that would help to restore trust and strengthen data protection in transatlantic relations.”

The Commission has responded in a three-fold manner with a strategy paper that outlines “challenges and risks following the revelations of U.S. intelligence collection programmes, as well as the steps that need to be taken to address these concerns”; analysis of Safe Harbour; and findings of the EU-US Working Group on Data Protection, which was setup in July this year.

The Commission has outlined a total of six areas that it believes requires actions including swift adoption of EU’s data protection reforms; Making Safe Harbour safer; Strengthening data protection safeguards in the law enforcement area; commitment from the US for making use of a legal framework; Addressing European concerns in the on-going US reform process; and promoting privacy standards internationally.

Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said, “Everyone from Internet users to authorities on both sides of the Atlantic stand to gain from cooperation, based on strong legal safeguards and trust that these safeguards will be respected.”