US and EU Close to Data Sharing Deal

According to three individuals who have knowledge of the matter, the United States and the European Union are close to ending negotiations on a deal that will provide protection to the data that’s shared between the two regions for the purposes of law enforcement like terrorism investigations. Negotiations have been ongoing between the two sides since 2011 over the so named ‘umbrella agreement’, which would be responsible for protecting the personal data that’s exchanged between judicial authorities and the police in the course of their investigations and also between the law enforcement authorities and companies. However, the talks haven’t exactly gone smoothly.

As a matter of fact, the lack of right of the EU citizens who aren’t residents of the United States to go to the country’s courts if they believe their information has been misused in any way has hampered the negotiations considerably. Such rights are given to all citizens of the US in the European Union. It has been constantly insisted by the EU that the ‘right to judicial undress’ should be enshrined in the law for resolving the matter or else signing the agreement is not a possibility. Since Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor revealed that mass surveillance programs had been active in the US over EU citizens, the protection of the personal data of the EU citizens in the United States has become a rather sore point.

However, when Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced the Judicial Redress Act in the US in March, it was considered a step in the correct direction. This is due to the fact that the act gives citizens of all US allies the right to sue over data privacy within the United States. One individual who is familiar with the matter said that the finishing line is approaching fast. But, they did add that the final deal would be signed only when the bill of Sensenbrenner would be passed by Congress.

Nonetheless, what would be regarded as a major step forward, it is possible that the document could be initialed by the next EU and United States meeting on security issues and justice, which has been scheduled for June 2nd and 3rd, according to the inside sources. This would indicate that all the outstanding issues existing between the two would have been resolved. Another person with knowledge of the matter stated that the intention is to get chief negotiators from both ends sign the deal.

This would definitely provide a boost to the transatlantic relations that have been somewhat frayed since the allegations of massive US spying were made. There was no comment made by the US justice department. If the negotiations of the umbrella agreement are closed, it would definitely bode well and pave the way for another deal between the two blocs concerning data transfer between the companies. Negotiations on behalf of the European Union are conducted by the European Commission, which said that it wishes to finish the negotiations with the United States by the end of this summer. 

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