Bitkom on the debate about the Data Privacy Framework

April 13, 2023

With the new Data Privacy Framework, the EU Commission wants to create a legal basis for the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US after the Privacy Shield 2020 was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice. There is clear criticism of the new plans in the EU Parliament, and today the EU Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) will vote on a resolution on the matter. Rebekka Weiß, Head of Trust and Security at the digital association Bitkom, explains:

“The Data Privacy Framework has resolved the criticisms raised by the ECJ that had led to the removal of the Privacy Shield. This has become possible because the US legal framework was adapted accordingly by an Executive Order of the President. However, the current discussion in the European Parliament shows how deadlocked attitudes are regarding international data transfers. This is already jeopardising confidence in the new agreement. The EU Commission should therefore deal intensively with the concrete points of criticism of the Data Privacy Framework in the coming weeks and explain in detail that these are already addressed by the new regulation. This can dispel concerns and hopefully prevent further proceedings before the ECJ. Companies need legal certainty so that the existing data blockade can finally be dissolved.

A successor agreement to the Privacy Shield for data transfers between the EU and the USA is urgently needed. The case-by-case reviews that are currently necessary are a great burden for business, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. The political will demonstrated by last year’s Executive Order and the current proposal for the EU-US Data Privacy Framework must now be translated into a robust legal regulation that will also withstand future judicial review.

Data transfers are an essential part of the entire economy and also of science. The prevention or even obstruction of data transfers is at least as serious for German and European companies as the disruption of supply chains. According to a recent Bitkom study, 6 out of 10 companies in Germany (60 percent) transfer personal data to countries outside the EU. Smaller companies in particular benefit from the easy use of cloud storage and software from US providers, communication in social networks and the use of video conferencing systems from international providers.”

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