The House of Lords Home Affairs, Health and Education EU Sub-Committee will this week begin enhanced scrutiny on two European Commission Communications published in November 2013 concerning data flows between Europe and the United States
Wednesday 12 March, Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster
- Professor Charles Raab, University of Edinburgh
- Phil Lee, Privacy and Information Law Group, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP
- Chris Connolly, Galexia
- Caspar Bowden, independent privacy expert, former Chief Privacy Adviser for Microsoft Europe
What is Safe Harbour?
Safe harbour is the name given to the framework developed by the US Department of Commerce and the European Commission that allows the differences in EU and US approaches to their respective citizen’s privacy to be bridged, and enables US organisations to comply with the EU Directive on Data Protection.
In the wake of revelations concerning large-scale US intelligence collection programmes had been abused, including allegations that the United States had been eavesdropping on the private phone calls of world leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Communication focuses on rebuilding trust in EU-US data flows.
It proposes a number of actions, including strengthening safe harbour provisions rather than revoking the Decision, and strengthening data protection safeguards on the transfer and processing of personal information in police and judicial cooperation.
The European Parliament LIBE Committee’s report recommended that the European Commission should suspend the safe harbour principles and re-negotiate new, appropriate data protection standards, and urged the EU’s executive arm to suspend the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) deal with the US until after a “thorough investigation” has been carried out to restore trust in the agreement.
Both Commission documents are to be considered during the Committee’s enhanced scrutiny sessions.