WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, the European Commission finished its third annual review of the EU-US Privacy Shield framework, extending for another year the agreement that allows U.S. companies to handle European personal data — and thus serve European users. But a looming decision from the European Court of Justice could bring trans-Atlantic data flows to a halt overnight, despite the extension. TechFreedom’s Director of civil liberties Ashkhen Kazaryan said:

“Renewal of the EU-US Privacy Shield will prevent a digital wall from being built between the US and the EU, but annual back and forth between the EU and the US has become a farce. The Privacy Shield allows for European data to flow between the United States and Europe while each year the EU expects higher standards in protection of that data from the United States — and both sides ignore the elephant in the room: U.S. government surveillance practices. So far Congress has failed to take European concerns about surveillance seriously. Most notably, Section 702 reform collapsed before it even had a fighting chance, allowing continued warrantless surveillance of both non-US and US persons.  

Members of Congress are playing a very dangerous game of chicken: They’re hoping that European courts won’t dare to stop the data flows and break the Internet as we know it. But they’re dismissing urgent need to protect their own citizens from unchecked government surveillance while tempting trigger-happy EU policymakers and inviting the European Court of Justice to block any further renewals of the Privacy Shield.”

We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org.