Top European Court Invalidates Privacy Shield, Unsettles Personal Data Transfer Practices under the Standard Contractual Clauses

The European Union Court of Justice (CJEU) invalidated on July 16, 2020, the EU-US “Privacy Shield,” the formal framework the European Union and the United States negotiated in 2016 for handling cross-border transfers of personal data from the EU to the U.S. Rumors of the Privacy Shield’s demise, which had been predicted for years, were finally borne out when the CJEU held in Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland (Schrems II) that the Privacy Shield program failed to provide adequate judicial redress to European data subjects in the face of the overly broad nature of U.S. government surveillance programs. The court concluded that the absence of such safeguards, which are guaranteed under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Charter), required it to invalidate adequacy decision made by the European Commission allowing for free flowing data transfers between the EU and U.S. signatories to the Privacy Shield Program pursuant to GDPR Article 45(2). …

August 4, 2020

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