Věra Jourová, the European Commissioner for Justice overseeing negotiations with the U.S. Department of Commerce over the future of the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor scheme, has reiterated the May 28th target date for near-completion of the negotiations (previously covered on InsidePrivacy here and here). Her hope is that an agreement in principle can be found at this year’s EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting taking place next month in Riga (Latvia).
The Commission has reportedly obtained satisfaction over most of its 13 recommendations for the reform of the Safe Harbor scheme, which aims to ensure adequate protection for personal data exported from the EU to participating organizations in the U.S.. However, talks are on-going over possible restrictions to U.S. authorities’ access to EU-originating personal data for law enforcement or national security purposes. The Commission, spurred on by the European Parliament and several EU Member States following the reported mass collection of such data by the U.S. National Security Agency, had criticized the level of protection offered by the existing Safe Harbor system.
The criticism also forms the crux of an on-going legal challenge against the Safe Harbor scheme by Austrian privacy activist Maximilian Schrems. His case is currently pending before the Court of Justice of the EU (as recently reported by InsidePrivacy here).