06 Dec 2017

Press release - DIGITALEUROPE Acknowledges Article 29 Working Party Report on the Privacy Shield Annual Review

Press release - DIGITALEUROPE Acknowledges Article 29 Working Party Report on the Privacy Shield Annual Review

DIGITALEUROPE acknowledges yesterday’s statement by the Article 29 Working Party (WP29). While legal certainty is currently assured by the positive report given by the Commission in October, the WP29 has missed an opportunity to recognise the extensive efforts of all parties in turning commitments to protect European citizens’ data into reality through the reinforcement of existing policies, procedures and institutions and the creation of new ones.

“The Privacy Shield is a living instrument. If the data protection authorities believe the Commission is mistaken in its assessment that the Privacy Shield lives up to its billing, then we call on them to roll up their sleeves and join their colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic in improving its implementation and enforcement, as opposed to acting as disinterested observers” said Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE.

Over 2540 organisations are already certified under the Privacy Shield, the majority processing information on behalf of European companies, many of which are SMEs. A recent survey of companies implementing Privacy Shield underlined the significant efforts made by businesses to ensure the privacy of their users. Most of the companies made changes to their internal compliance programmes, developed staff awareness campaigns, and updated their privacy policies. Approximately half of the respondents took other organisational measures, such as the appointment of a privacy officer.

Transatlantic data flows are important for the economy as well. The transatlantic economy is the largest and wealthiest market in the world accounting for over 35% of the world’s GDP1 . In 2015 alone, it generated $5.5 trillion in total commercial sales and employed up to 15 million workers on both sides of the Atlantic. Data flows were flowing at about 15 terabits per second, which makes it by far the most intensive data flows in the world.

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