March 20, 2019

March 20, 2019

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U.S. and EU Miss Target for Safe Harbor Renegotiation, But Remain Optimistic



The U.S. and EU’s negotiators on the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor data transfer program have missed an end of May target date for reaching an agreement on amendments to the program.

They nevertheless publicly reaffirmed their commitment to reaching an agreement on the Safe Harbor program, and on an “Umbrella Agreement” that would protect personal data exchanged between the U.S. and EU for law enforcement purposes.  The EU is looking to address concerns over safeguards against over-collection and use of EU citizens’ data by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Whilst no new target date for Safe Harbor agreement has been announced, Reuters reports that U.S. Under Secretary of State Catherine Novelli is optimistic that an agreement could be reached “very, very soon”, and the wait would be a matter of weeks, not months.

That timing could coincide with the release on June 24th of an important legal opinion by a Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) Advocate-General, Yves Bot, in a significant EU challenge to the current Safe Harbor (case C-362/14 Schrems).  Although non-binding, the Advocate-General’s opinion on the merits of the case could influence the CJEU’s judges, who are expected to rule on the case later this year.


© 2019 Covington & Burling LLP


About this Author

Philippe Bradley-Schmieg, Covington Burling, Data privacy and cybersecurity attorney

Philippe Bradley-Schmieg's practice covers a range of regulatory and commercial matters affecting the IT, internet media, e-health and telecoms sectors across the world.

Mr. Bradley-Schmieg advises on legislation, enforcement, advocacy and contracts relating to privacy, data protection, consumer protection, intermediary liability, copyright and databases, Big Data, medical confidentiality, cybersecurity, law enforcement data requests, and smart medical devices and apps.