US-EU Data-Privacy Framework


On Oct. 7, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to implement the U.S.-EU data-privacy framework. The order had been awaited since March, when U.S. and EU officials reached an agreement in principle on a new framework, which EU officials insist must address concerns about surveillance practices by U.S. agencies. An earlier data-privacy framework was invalidated in 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in its Schrems II judgment.


The European Commission will now consider whether to issue an “adequacy decision” for the U.S. This is urgent, because national data-protection authorities in the EU have been using a strained interpretation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to prosecute various workarounds that companies have employed to transfer data between the U.S. and the EU. Like prior U.S.-EU arrangements, the order is likely to be challenged before the EU courts, but preliminary legal analysis suggests that this one has a greater chance of being upheld.

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