Third review of EU-U.S. Privacy Shield welcomes progress despite remaining concerns

The European Commission published its report on the third annual review of the functioning of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The report confirms that the U.S. continues to ensure an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred under the Privacy Shield from the EU to participating companies in the U.S. Since the second annual review, there have been a number of improvements in the functioning of the framework, as well as appointments to key oversight and redress bodies, such as the Privacy Shield Ombudsperson. The review focused on the lessons learnt from its practical implementation and day-to-day functionality, as 5,000 companies currently participate in this data protection framework. Among the improvements, the third review notes that the U.S. Department of Commerce is ensuring the necessary oversight in a more systematic manner by, for example, carrying out monthly checks of a sample of companies to verify compliance with Privacy Shield principles. However, the Commission recommends that certain concrete steps be taken to better ensure the effective functioning of the Privacy Shield in practice. According to EU Observer, the Court of Justice of the EU will rule next year if EU citizens’ data can be legally transferred to the US, putting potentially the accord into doubt.