Brussels — Relations between the world’s two biggest trading blocs, the European Union (EU) and the United States, remain strained more than a year after the first revelations by Edward Snowden.
In parallel to our industry’s calls for reforms to U.S. surveillance laws, CCIA also welcomes the review of the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor framework. This framework has for 14 years now enabled European and U.S. companies to transfer commercial data to the U.S.
An improved “Safe Harbor” agreement would facilitate transatlantic trade and boost economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic. Agreement would also help restore Europeans’ trust in the U.S. government — and in the tech industry more broadly.
One important remaining hangup in EU-U.S. relations is in the U.S. Privacy Act. Under its provisions, European citizens currently do not have the right to challenge possible misuse of their data by the U.S. government in U.S. courts. American citizens enjoy this right in most European Member States. This summer the U.S. Attorney General pledged support for an amendment to the U.S. Privacy Act in response to EU concerns.
CCIA supports this amendment, which we deem important for improving Europeans’ trust in EU-U.S. data flows.
We will now work in partnership with other tech associations and civil society to encourage Congress to amend the U.S. Privacy Act to extend privacy protections to Europeans.