President Biden on Friday signed an executive order giving Europeans the ability to object when they believe their personal information has been leaked to a US online surveillance network, an important step. to reach a broader agreement on digital data flows.
The order places new restrictions on electronic surveillance by US intelligence agencies. In addition, Europeans will be able to complain to an official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence if they believe their information has been collected in a way that violates US standards or laws. Finally, they can bring their case before a new independent review body called the Data Protection Review Court.
This announcement brings the United States and the European Union closer to an agreement that will allow companies to transfer digital data — like Facebook’s service information — and to notify Google about websites that people don’t know about. visitors – transatlantic without violating European privacy laws.
American companies argue that an agreement is needed to allow their operations in Europe to resume and boost economic activity. Privacy activists have successfully sued to rescind two previous agreements, arguing that they failed to protect Europeans from excessive access by US intelligence agencies. Officials in Washington and Brussels have been intent on striking a new deal ever since.
Trade Minister Gina Raimondo said the deal with the European Union would “facilitate the continuous flow of data that underlies more than a trillion dollars in cross-border trade and investment each year”, the ministry said. Commerce Minister Gina Raimondo said at a press conference with reporters on Thursday.
The executive order is the latest development in a debate that began when Edward Snowden, a former national security contractor, released details about how the vast US foreign surveillance apparatus exploited stored data. by American technology and telecommunications companies.
Following those revelations, a privacy activist took to Europe’s top court claiming that Facebook’s storage of his data in the United States violated his rights. The court agreed, rescinding an existing treaty allowing data to flow. Activist, Max Schrems, also successfully sued to invalidate the next iteration of the deal – prompting officials in Washington and Brussels to strike the latest deal.
While they negotiated, several European privacy regulators ruled that US services, including Google Analytics and Mailchimp, could violate Europeans’ privacy because they switched data across the United States.
Mr. Biden and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the two sides had reached an “agreement in principle” in March. At the time, Mr. Biden said the agreement would include “unprecedented protections for the privacy and data security of our citizens.” It took the White House months to issue the executive order.
Privacy activists may decide to sue to try to disable it again.