HANDELSBLATT EXCLUSIVE

E.U. Justice Commissioner Warns Trump on Privacy Agreement

European Parliament in Strasbourg
Picture source: DPA

Vera Jourova, the European justice commissioner, has warned the Trump administration against weakening a key trans-Atlantic agreement on data protection, known as Privacy Shield.

Ms. Jourova told Handelsblatt in an interview that the European Union would withdraw from Privacy Shield if the Trump administration does not ensure the privacy of European data.

More than 1,500 companies, including heavyweights such as Facebook and Google, use the Privacy Shield agreement as the basis for transferring personal data between the United States and the European Union.

Brussels and Washington hammered out the agreement last summer. Under Privacy Shield, data transferred to the United States is supposed to enjoy the same protections as in Europe.

U.S. President Donald Trump, however, issued an executive order in January that cast doubt on the agreement. Mr. Trump ordered federal agencies to exclude people who are not citizens or lawful permanent residents from protections under the U.S. Privacy Act.

Ms. Jourova is set to meet with Trump administration officials in Washington this week, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. She said Brussels must remain vigilant because the Trump administration takes a completely different approach on some important issues.

But Ms. Jourova expressed confidence that European data transferred to the United States would enjoy privacy standards similar to those in Europe.

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