Challenge to EU Commission decision on data protection adequacy between US and EU [11 juillet 23]
The European Commission’s implementing decision, pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the adequate protection of personal data under the EU-US data protection framework, has just fallen. And with it, my last illusions about the Commission’s ability to stand up to the United States.
Although my hopes remained faint, I have to say that I did not expect such a dishonorable abandonment of European interests. The resolution adopted on April 13 by the members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee led me to believe that a miracle was still possible. The resolution aptly stated that the proposed EU-US data protection framework was an improvement, but not sufficient to justify an adequacy decision on personal data transfers.
The Civil Liberties Committee also pointed out that the US legal framework still allowed the bulk collection of personal data in certain cases, since it did not subject it to independent prior authorization and did not provide clear rules on the retention of such data. Strong doubts were also expressed about the Data Protection Review Court and the possibilities for appeal envisaged.
All these warnings were swept aside by the European Commission, which ignored the warnings of the Parliament, and thus of the Parliament itself, and engaged in a dishonorable barter that can be summed up as follows: American investment in military equipment for the Ukrainian conflict and gas from across the Atlantic, in exchange for European data.
France, which was unable (or unwilling) to make its voice heard, is unquestionably the useful idiot, the big loser, in this new European episode. Germany, the main short-term beneficiary of this deal, preserves its gas supplies and its industry. As for Europe, it loses yet another opportunity to assert itself, to come of age.
So why did it take so many months to reach a decision that challenges the American conditions so little? Why run the risk of an appeal to the CJEU, which is very likely to rule against the measures taken and postpone indefinitely the agreement supposedly sought? Because this is above all a race against time. Time is on the side of the strongest. The legal mess thus created is allowing American multinationals in the information and communication technologies sector to do as they please, or almost as they please, and to extend their already considerable lead, to the detriment of the European ecosystem and, more generally, the economy of the old continent, which may never recover.
Député de la Vendée