White House Confident Privacy Shield Is Working

Comments come in advance of first annual review of EU/U.S. program

The White House predicts that the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield will get a clean bill of health in its annual checkup.

That is according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

"We firmly believe that the upcoming review will demonstrate the strength of the American promise to protect
the personal data of citizens on both sides of the Atlantic," said Sander in a statement.

"This first-of-a-kind event brings together the expertise and resources of seven Federal agencies, hundreds of industry representatives, and other stakeholders to demonstrate the value and integrity of the Privacy Shield, which has noticeably improved transatlantic data protection practices," she said.

The event is the first review of the shield, which is a framework for protecting cross-border data flows. It is the first annual review, and is being conducted by European Commission and U.S. Commerce and Justice Department officials Monday (Sept. 18) and Tuesday in Washington.

Related: LeBlanc Tapped as Privacy Shield Arbitrator

“EU and U.S. negotiators had the wisdom to include review clauses to continuously assess and improve Privacy Shield,"  said Computer & Communications Industry Association President Ed Black, "and this first meeting is an opportunity to ensure the process is working.”

The privacy shield replaces the safe harbor agreement that a European Union court invalidated in October 2015 over concerns about the U.S. being able to hold up its end of the agreement given the government surveillance revealed by the Edward Snowden leaks. The voluntary framework requires companies to provide notice of what personal information is being collected and stored, the purposes it is used for, and an "opt out" mechanism.

Just two weeks ago, the Federal Trade Commission took its first Shield-related enforcement action, settling with three companies over charges they had falsely claimed they were participating in the Privacy Shield Framework. The FTC alleged that the companies, software company Decusoft, printer Tru Communications, and real estate leasing company MD7, had failed to complete the Privacy Shield certification process.