European Data Protection Supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli has raised concerns about the EU-US Privacy Shield data-sharing pact, claiming that it is not robust enough to stand up to proper legal scrutiny.
Privacy Shield was unveiled earlier this year by the US and EU as a response to Safe Harbour which was ruled illegal because the privacy of European citizens' data could not be guaranteed.
However, Buttarelli has now said that Privacy Shield lacks the necessary components to withstand the same sort of scrutiny that destroyed Safe Harbour.
"I appreciate the efforts made to develop a solution to replace Safe Harbour, but Privacy Shield as it stands is not robust enough to withstand future legal scrutiny," he said.
"Significant improvements are needed should the European Commission wish to adopt an adequacy decision, to respect the essence of key data protection principles with particular regard to necessity, proportionality and redress mechanisms.”
This comes just a few days after the European Parliament passed a resolution demanding that the European Commission and the US renegotiate the draft Privacy Shield framework.
Parliamentarians voiced concern about "deficiencies" in the proposed legislation concerning the US authorities' access to EU citizens' data and the possibility of bulk data collection.
MEPs said that this does not meet the criteria of "necessity" and "proportionality" laid down in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Despite the criticisms from EU law makers and data protection experts, tech companies have given Privacy Shield their backing. Microsoft said that it is a necessary requirement to facilitate safe data flows from the EU to the US.
However, the company admitted that further work is needed to make the framework fully compatible with international law.
"We continue to believe today that additional steps will be needed to build on the Privacy Shield after it is adopted, ranging from additional domestic legislation to modernisation of mutual legal assistance treaties and new bilateral and ultimately multilateral agreements," Microsoft said.
"But we believe that the Privacy Shield as negotiated provides a strong foundation on which to build."
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