U.S. says Trump order will not undermine data transfer deals with EU

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By Julia Fioretti

<span class="articleLocation”>An executive order signed by U.S. President
Donald Trump to crack down on illegal immigration will not
undermine two data transfer agreements between the United States
and the EU, Washington wrote in a letter to allay European
concerns.

An executive order signed by Trump on Jan. 25 aiming to
toughen enforcement of U.S. immigration law rattled the European
Union as it appeared to suggest Europeans would not be given the
same privacy protections as U.S. citizens.

The order directs U.S. agencies to “exclude persons who are
not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from
the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally
identifiable information.”

Securing equal treatment of EU citizens was key to agreeing
the Umbrella Agreement which protects law enforcement data
shared between the United States and the EU.

And the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield – which makes possible about
$260 billion of trade in digital services – was only clinched
after Washington agreed to protect the data from excessive
surveillance and misuse by companies.

In the first written confirmation since the executive order
stoked uncertainty over transatlantic data flows, the U.S.
Department of Justice said the executive order did not affect
either the Umbrella Agreement or the Privacy Shield.

“Section 14 of the Executive Order does not affect the
privacy rights extended by the Judicial Redress Act to
Europeans. Nor does Section 14 affect the commitments the United
States has made under the DPPA (Umbrella Agreement) or the
Privacy Shield,” Bruce Swartz, Deputy Assistant Attorney
General, wrote to the European Commission in a letter seen by
Reuters.

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, who will travel to the
United States at the end of March, said she was “not worried”
but remained vigilant.

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is used by almost 2,000 companies
including Google, Facebook and Microsoft to store data about EU citizens on U.S. servers.

Its predecessor was struck down in 2015 by the EU’s top
court for allowing U.S. agents unfettered access to Europeans’
data, forcing an acceleration of difficult talks to find a
replacement.



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