The European Union’s Commissioner for Justice, Věra Jourová, visited Washington DC last week to meet with US officials and discuss cross-border data transfers, including further negotiations on a revised Safe Harbor agreement. The original Safe Harbor framework that permitted transfers of personal data of European citizens to the United States was declared invalid by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) on October 6, 2015. The CJEU focused its decision on the fact that the Safe Harbor framework did not limit US law enforcement and national security authorities from accessing European personal data on a generalized basis (despite protestations from the US government that such a characterization was inaccurate).

While the CJEU declared the Safe Harbor framework to be invalid on October 6, the EU Commission has been negotiating with the US Department of Commerce on revisions to Safe Harbor for nearly two years. In late 2013, in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations, the European Commission came forward with concerns with the Safe Harbor framework and published a list of 13 ways that the framework could be improved. Many of those improvements have been agreed to, and implemented, by the US government.

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