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US and EU finalise data sharing policy

Mon 7 Sep 2015

EU and US flags data sharing

The United States and the European Union are preparing a deal which would see the two share data for matters related to security and terrorism, a leaked document has revealed.

The ‘umbrella agreement’ has been under negotiation since 2011. The policy will oversee the exchange of data between companies and by criminal and judicial authorities during investigations.

The two sides have struggled to reach an agreement over the deal, with a conflict of rights hampering progress. In the U.S. non-resident EU citizens do not hold the right to go to a U.S. court if they claim their data has been misused or unlawfully disclosed. However, in the EU, U.S. citizens enjoy this right. The European Commission has maintained that the agreement would not be processed until the “right to judicial address” for EU citizens had been stated by U.S. law.

In March this year, a Judicial Redress Act was introduced by U.S. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, which sought to give citizens of U.S. allies the right to go to court for data privacy cases in the U.S.

According to the leaked document, the agreement has been finalised and only awaits the signatures of the leading negotiators in Luxembourg, today or Tuesday, before it is implemented.

The document confirms that the policy has received support from both parties, and is being projected to restore trust in the wake of the Snowden mass spying revelations in 2013.

The trans-Atlantic deal follows U.S. national plans to promote cybersecurity data sharing between companies and the White House. An order signed in February set in place the new information sharing and analysis organisations (ISAOs) initiative which aims to protect domestic firms from attacks such as those experienced by Sony Pictures.

These efforts are heavily resisted by large U.S. tech giants, who hesitate in their cooperation demanding reform around surveillance activities.


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