The Senate Commerce Committee holds a listening to on the invalidation of the EU-US privateness protect and the way forward for transatlantic information stream

On December 9, 2020, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transport held a hearing on the invalidation of the privacy shield between the EU and the US and the future of the transatlantic flow of data. The hearing examined the political issues that led to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) invalidating the privacy shield framework in the Schrems II decision. The hearing also discussed the implications of the ECJ’s decision on US companies and the steps the US government can take to develop a successor data transmission framework, including comprehensive federal data protection laws.

The list of witnesses for the hearing included: Noah Phillips, FTC commissioner; Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of BSA – The Software Alliance; Neil Richards, Washington University Law School; James Sullivan, Assistant Assistant Secretary for Services, International Trade Administration, US Department of Commerce; and Peter Swire of Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business and Research Director of the Cross-Border Data Forum.

The main views of the witnesses include:

  • Support for a comprehensive federal law on consumer protection, which takes account of the duty of loyalty and offers a private right to act;
  • Agreement that a data protection law alone is not enough; Rather, the US must also review its approach to information gathering and pursue surveillance reform, possibly to reach consensus on information gathering / surveillance and data protection with other major democracies. and
  • Emphasize the economic impact of the Privacy Shield invalidation, including concerns about data localization and its cost to small and medium-sized businesses, which may have far fewer resources than large companies.

Read the written testimony.

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