LONDON — The European Union signed off Monday on a new agreement over the privacy of people’s personal information that gets pinged across the Atlantic, aiming to ease European concerns about electronic spying by American intelligence agencies.
The EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework has an adequate level of protection for personal data, the EU’s executive commission said. That means it’s comparable to the 27-nation’s own stringent data protection standards, so companies can use it to move information from Europe to the United States without adding extra security.
U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in October to implement the deal after reaching a preliminary agreement with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Washington and Brussels made an effort to resolve their yearslong battle over the safety of EU citizens’ data that tech companies store in the U.S. after two earlier data transfer agreements were thrown out.
“Personal data can now flow freely and safely from the European Economic Area to the United States without any further conditions or authorizations,” EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said at a press briefing in Brussels.
Washington and Brussels long have clashed over differences between the EU’s stringent data privacy rules and the comparatively lax regime in the U.S., which lacks a federal privacy law. That created uncertainty for tech giants including Google and Facebook parent Meta, raising the prospect that U.S. tech firms might need to keep European data that is used for targeted ads out of the United States.
The European privacy campaigner who triggered legal challenges over the practice, however, dismissed the latest deal. Max Schrems said the new agreement failed to resolve core issues and vowed to challenge it to the EU’s top court.