US and EU reach a deal on new Safe Harbour agreement to govern data transfers between the regions, naming the deal the EU-US Privacy Shield

Hayley Kirton
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Safe Harbour has been revamped into the EU-US Privacy Shield (Source: Getty)

The EU and the US have reached an agreement over the framework governing data transfers between the two regions.

The new agreement, which has previously been called "Safe Harbour" but has now been renamed the "EU-US Privacy Shield", was announced today and places stronger obligations on the US to better protect the data of European citizens.

"We have agreed on a new strong framework on data flows with the US," said Andrus Ansip, vice president for the digital single market on the European Commission. "Our businesses, especially the smallest ones, have the legal certainty they need to develop their activities across the Atlantic."

The Shield will also be reviewed regularly to make sure it is still up to standard and meeting the needs of consumers and businesses.

Vera Jourova, commissioner and part of the digital single market project team, added:

"The new EU-US Privacy Shield will protect the fundamental rights of Europeans when their personal data is transferred to U.S. companies. For the first time ever, the United States has given the EU binding assurances that the access of public authorities for national security purposes will be subject to clear limitations, safeguards and oversight mechanisms. Also for the first time, EU citizens will benefit from redress mechanisms in this area."

There are still a number of steps to be taken, both by the EU and the US, before the agreement can be formally put in place.

The new arrangement comes after the original Safe Harbour setup was deemed invalid in a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The case came about after Edward Snowden raised alarm bells over how US intelligence services were accessing data for surveillance.

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