US, EU, SAD flags, zastave.jpg
Photograph: Photo by openDemocracy, used under CC BY-SA

Brussels and Washington reached a deal Tuesday on a new system to protect transatlantic data transfers, the European Commission announced, after the previous framework was struck down last year by an EU court.

"Goodbye Safe Harbor!" EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova wrote on Twitter. "New EU-US data protection framework agreed."

Since 2000, the Safe Harbor system had regulated how businesses in the European Union and the United States share data. But in November, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) found that the deal did not fully safeguard the rights of EU citizens.

The new deal - which still requires the approval of EU member states - replaces Safe Harbor, which was used by more than 4,000 firms to conduct their transatlantic business.

"This framework for transatlantic data flows protects the fundamental rights of Europeans and ensures legal certainty for businesses," a source close to the negotiations said Tuesday, adding that it lives up to the ECJ's requirements.

Under the new scheme, the US has for the first time given "binding assurances" that public authorities' access to data will be subject to "clear limitations, safeguards and oversight mechanisms," the source said.

One of the key criticisms of the original scheme was that it granted US intelligence agencies too much power to access EU citizens' data, without granting them legal redress.

The new mechanism is also expected to oblige companies to abide by data protection rules, overseen by the US Department of Commerce, and threatening them with sanctions and expulsion from the scheme if they do not.

It will also ratchet up conditions for firms to pass data on to partner companies.

Under the framework agreed Tuesday, citizens will have several avenues to raise concerns that their data has been misused, the source said.

If the company in question does not resolve a dispute, citizens will be able to raise the issue with EU data protection authorities, who will work together with their US counterparts on the matter.

An arbitration mechanism is also planned to escalate complaints, while the US judicial redress act - once passed - is to give EU citizens the unprecedented right to take complaints up with US courts.

Safe Harbor was established in 2000 after the commission banned the transfer of data to non-European countries that did not adhere to stringent criteria.

But it came under scrutiny following revelations in 2013 of mass spying by US intelligence authorities, prompting the EU's executive to begin talks with Washington on a safer system.

Following the November ruling, European data protection agencies had given EU and US authorities an end-of-January deadline to reach a new agreement, while allowing companies to use alternative legal tools to transfer data until then.

Related stories

EU, US launch controversial new data-sharing deal

Court advisor slams EU, Canada flight data-sharing deal

EU bodies worry over US snooping in data-sharing deal

Latest news

Austria seeks to create jobs, but new EU immigrants need not apply

Austria plans to create 160,000 jobs in the next three years by subsidizing companies, but the project has raised concerns because it effectively excludes people who recently immigrated from other EU countries.

Juncker: Not good for W. Balkans that some in Washington want to water down EU

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday it was not good for Western Balkan countries that some people in the new US administration gave the impression of being against the European Union because those countries needed the prospects of EU membership.

German state approves full-face veil ban

Legislation that bans face veils in select public spaces and situations was agreed by the government of the southeastern German state of Bavaria on Tuesday.

Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok named Asia's best for third year

Bangkok's Indian eatery Gaggan on Tuesday was named the best restaurant in Asia for the third consecutive year by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.

HGK: 16 Croatian companies to exhibit at IDEX defence exhibition

Sixteen Croatian companies will exhibit their products at the 13th IDEX 2017 defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi, to be held on February 19-23.

Trump and the nuclear codes: Carnival again takes aim at politicians

US President Donald Trump, Brexit, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Germany's right-wing AfD party: Floats unveiled Tuesday for this year's Carnival parades in Cologne and Mainz once again turn to political satire to entertain revellers.

Barcelona police open fire on stolen lorry laden with gas canisters

Security forces in Barcelona opened fire on a stolen lorry laden with gas canisters to bring a rampage through the city to an end, police in the Spanish city said on Tuesday.

Stuttgart to issue bans on high-polluting diesel vehicles from 2018

Most diesel vehicles will be banned from roads in the southern German city of Stuttgart during times of heavy pollution, a bid to clean up the city's air, the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg decided Tuesday.

Slovenia welcomes construction of LNG terminal off Krk, but won't join for now

Slovenia is not planning for now to connect to the floating LNG terminal to be built off Omisalj on the northern Croatian Adriatic island of Krk, but welcomes any additional energy source, Slovenian media say.

German court rules against automatic refugee status for Syrians

Syrians fleeing the multi-sided civil war in their home country do not have an automatic right to refugee status under the Geneva Convention, a German court ruled Tuesday.

Business conference pushes for intensified privatisation in Croatia

As long as the state authorities pay high bills, this means that the government has not yet seriously delved into the privatisation of state-run companies, although their sale can alleviate the pressure on the state budget, a business conference in Zagreb heard on Tuesday.

HND condemns judge's verbal tirade against reporters

The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Tuesday condemned a verbal tirade by Sibenik Municipal Court Judge Maja Supe against reporters in the courtroom, claiming that they were not educated to report on trials and that they had called her the "most corrupt judge in the country."

Mosque attended by Berlin attacker Amri closed, police confirm

The mosque in Berlin attended by Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri has been closed. The mosque is permanently closed, read a note in German and Turkish on the door of the prayer rooms which was seen on Tuesday.

German army to expand to almost 200,000 soldiers

Germany's Bundeswehr, plans to expand its number of professional soldier to 198,000 by 2024 because of increasing duties, the German Defence Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Fired Audi engineer says he was 'sacrificed' for emissions scandal

A fired Audi engineer was "sacrificed" amid the ongoing VW group diesel emissions scandal, his lawyer claimed in court on Tuesday as he contested his client's dismissal.