EC negotiation mandate for EU-US personal data protection agreement

By EDRi · June 2, 2010

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Deutsch: [EK-Verhandlungsmandat für Datenschutzabkommen zwischen der EU und den USA |]

On 26 May 2010, the European Commission (EC) announced having drafted a
mandate for the negotiation of a data protection agreement with the US in
view of ensuring a high level of protection of personal information, such as
passenger data or financial information transferred within the
transatlantic police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters.

“Fundamental rights must be protected and respected at all times. I want an
EU-US agreement that protects personal data rights while fighting crime and
terrorism”, said Viviane Reding, European Commission Vice President for
Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

The proposal of the Commission comes after the European Parliament rejected
in February 2010 the interim EU-US banking data exchange agreement for
tracking terrorism, due to the lack of proper data privacy safeguards.

According to EC’s statement, the data protection agreement would “enhance”
the EU citizens’ right to access, rectify or delete data where appropriate
and it would give independent public authorities a stronger role in helping
people exercise their privacy rights and in supervising transatlantic data

“Under the Commission’s proposal the transfer or processing of personal data
by EU or US authorities would only be permitted for specified, explicit and
legitimate purposes in the framework of fighting crime and terrorism,” said
the Commission statement. “There would be a right to access one’s personal
data and this would be enforceable in courts. (….) There would be a right
to have one’s personal data corrected or erased if it is found to be
inaccurate [and] there would be an individual right of administrative and
judicial redress regardless of nationality or place of residence.”

Also, according to the proposal, the European Parliament will be informed at
all stages of the negotiations and will have to give its consent to the
result of the negotiations.

Presently, a new “Terrorism Financing Tracking Programme” (TFTP) is being
negotiated by EC with the US. The negotiations are supposed to end in a few
months time which means that the TFTP will probably be agreed upon before a
data protection agreement has been concluded. Such an agreement will need at
least a year to be negotiated as it has to be approved by the European

According to the EC, in case the TFTP proves later on to show
inconsistencies with the data protection agreement, it “would need to
conform to the new agreement, following a transitional period.”

The draft mandate is to be presented by Commissioner Reding to the EU’s
current Spanish Presidency and the European Parliament. On 3-4 June the
EU justice ministers are to meet in Brussels to discuss the Commission

EU moves on data protection deal with US (27.05.2010)

European Commission seeks high privacy standards in EU-US data protection
agreement (26.05.2010)

European Commission proposes ground rules for data transfers to US
authorities (26.05.2010)

EU seeks transatlantic privacy rules (27.05.2010)

EDRi-gram: EU bank data transfer on the table of the EU institutions