EU and US Sign an “Umbrella Deal”: Cross-Atlantic Data Protection Boosted

Written by | Friday, June 3rd, 2016

The European Union and the United States of America yesterday (2 June) signed the so-called “Umbrella Agreement”, which will introduce high-level data protection framework for criminal law enforcement cooperation. The agreement improves, in particular, EU citizens’ rights as it provides equal treatment with US citizens when it comes to judicial redress rights before US courts. The deal was signed by Dutch minister Ard van der Steur and Commissioner Vera Jourova on behalf of the EU and by Attorney General Loretta Lynch on behalf of the US authorities.

Minister Van der Steur commented that “This agreement symbolizes the values the United States and the European Union share. It will improve cooperation between US and European Law enforcement authorities when combatting serious crime and terrorism. It will advance the full respect for fundamental rights whenever personal data is being transferred between us.” The agreement will cover all personal data exchanged between police and criminal justice authorities of the EU Member States and the US federal authorities for the purpose of prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences, including terrorism.

The deal will facilitate criminal law enforcement cooperation and provide guarantees of the legality of data transfers, such as provisions on clear limitations on data use, the obligation to seek prior consent before any onward transfer of data, the obligation to define appropriate retention periods or the right to access and rectification. The agreement is not a legal tool for any transfer of personal data to the US but it rather complements the existing data protection safeguards in transfer agreements.

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