European Privacy Officials Push for Answers on Status of U.S. Privacy

The Article 29 Working Party, an expert group of European privacy officials, is pressing the European Commission to closely evaluate the EU-US Privacy Shield, a framework permitting the flow of European consumers' personal data to the United States. In a letter to the Commission, the Working Party outlined its expectations for this summer's annual review of the arrangement. The Group asked for "precise evidence" that bulk surveillance is "limited and proportionate." The Article 29 also seeks information about vacancies in key privacy oversight positions, including the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and the Privacy Shield Ombudsperson, and any legal protections for "automated decision making." The European Parliament previously expressed alarm over the rollback of U.S. privacy safeguards necessary for the Privacy Shield. In 2015, EPIC and a coalition of privacy organizations urged the US and the EU to strengthen privacy protections following a landmark decision that found insufficient legal protections for the transfer of consumer data to the US. At a hearing before the High Court of Ireland, EPIC Senior Counsel Alan Butler made submissions in DPC v. Facebook, highlighting weaknesses in US privacy law.

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