Privacy Update: The Privacy Shield Gets Its First Official Review

General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer

WP29 says …

Much better … but not quite enough!  And with that, the new EU-US Data Shield sort of flunked its first test, but in a good way!

Specifically, the Article 29 Working Party (the group that reviews privacy regulations in the EU and issues non-binding opinions), having completed its review of the Data Shield, declared on April 13, 2016 that the Data Shield was a “major improvement compared to Safe Harbor.” Nonetheless, they declared … “there is work to do”.

So, are we back to square one?  No!

The good news is that WP29 indicated specific areas that they felt needed to be addressed further as opposed rejecting the entire concept on broad philosophical grounds.  These are areas that can be addressed such as their concerns around data transfers (especially large data sets of consumer information), clarification and simplification of the process around redress, and a focus on the transition to the GDPR.  Of course, WP29 is still unhappy with the state of bulk collection of information by governments.  That last one may prove sticky.

But, for now, more good news:  WP29 also indicated that from its point of view, Standard (Model) Clauses and Binding Corporate Rules (for those few companies that have them) should still be considered legally effective for transfers of information out of the EU until the Data Shield is finalized.  Not only is that an important and positive development, it indicates that the Working Party sees the approval and implementation of the Data Shield as possible and perhaps even preferable to the abyss of having no controlling protective law.

Late Breaking News:  The European Parliament just voted and gave final approval to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  So with that, we will bid a fond farewell to the Data Privacy Directive (95/46/EC) … and the Article 29 Working Party … as we say hello to the European Data Protection Board.  Well, almost— the law goes into full effect on April 14, 2018.  But don’t bank on that date; there are changes in the schedule coming (my opinion).   We will be transitioning faster than originally conceived.

Okay Folks.  The roller coaster is ready to go again… so get in, sit down and buckle up.

– See more at:

Leave A Comment