The new deal for sharing data between the EU and US is officially done

 
Lynsey Barber
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Privacy Shield will replace Safe Harbour (Source: Getty)

Businesses can now breathe a sigh of relief about the tricky issues of sharing data across the Atlantic.

A new agreement on the rules governing data transfer between Europe and the US has been agreed by Brussels, replacing the Safe Harbour agreement which was torn up by the courts last year.

Officials have managed to hash out the new deal, known as Privacy Shield, in less than a year and the rules have been formally adopted from today.

Read more: The new EU-US Privacy Shield data transfer deal has hit a bump

"Sign off on the Privacy Shield ends a period of serious uncertainty for businesses across the globe," said Tanguy Van Overstraeten, of law firm Linklaters.

The rules govern, for example, the collection of personal information by US companies such as Facebook and Google on European citizens, including how that data is held and who can access it ensuring the privacy rights of people in the EU are met by companies in the US, where rules are different.

"The approval of Privacy Shield, an arrangement facilitating commercial data flows between the EU and US, concludes a process set off by the Snowden revelations about the extent of security agencies' access to communications data," said Omer Tene of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

Read more: US and EU reach new Safe Harbour agreement

The EU Commission said the deal would impose stricter obligations on US companies to protect personal data and US authorities to monitor and enforce them. It also assures that the access by US authorities on national security grounds are "subject to clear conditions, limitations and oversight".

Despite updates to the agreement, some privacy groups believe the Privacy Shield still doesn't go far enough to protect consumers' private data.

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