Yesterday, a group of twenty-seven privacy and civil liberties organizations sent a letter to EU officials opposing the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, which was released last month and is currently being reviewed by the Article 29 Working Party in the EU.  According to the letter, the Privacy Shield “manifestly fails” to meet the standards set by the Court of Justice of the European Union in invalidating the prior Safe Harbor Framework.

While the letter acknowledges that “questions remain about the scope and utility” of the Privacy Shield, it lists three specific critiques.  First, the letter argues that the Privacy Shield fails to include a commitment by the U.S. government to apply the international standards of necessity and proportionality to its surveillance activities.  Second, the letter argues that the Privacy Shield’s enforcement mechanisms are inadequate because the ombudsperson is not independent and lacks sufficient authority to initiate investigations or respond to complaints.  Third, the letter argues that the Privacy Shield lacks sufficient transparency because “individuals are never notified when their information has been collected, disseminated, or used.”

The letter concludes by urging the Article 29 Working Party to send the Privacy Shield back to the negotiators for further consideration.  The Working Party is expected to release its non-binding opinion on the Privacy Shield during its next plenary meeting in April.