Will there be a Schrems III?

  • by Arlo Gilbert
  • · posted on October 13, 2022
  • · 4 min read
Will there be a Schrems III?

Hello and happy Thursday, everyone! There has been some exciting news in the privacy space this past week — namely, President Biden’s executive order describing the implementation of a Data Privacy Framework to support compliant EU-US data transfers.

Those of you who have been in privacy for a while will know that EU-US data transfers have been a bit of a bugbear.

First, businesses relied on a framework known as the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles to ensure compliant data transfers. This framework was invalidated in 2015 in a court case known as Schrems I, named after lawyer and privacy advocate Max Schrems. Schrems alleged that “the law and practice of the United States do not offer sufficient protection against surveillance by the public authorities,” essentially arguing that US intelligence agencies could collect EU citizens’ data as they wished under the Safe Harbor provisions.

Next, there was the Privacy Shield, which replaced the Safe Harbor provisions. The Privacy Shield lasted until 2020, when it was invalidated by the ​​European Court of Justice in the Schrems II court case, again over insufficient protections against government surveillance of EU citizens’ data.

Now, the Biden Administration has announced an executive order detailing how it will implement the Data Privacy Framework. This framework was agreed to by both President Biden and European Commission President von der Leyen in March 2022. The Data Privacy Framework features explicit safeguards and reviews for US intelligence activities as well as a means for EU citizens to seek redress for privacy violations, which is a good step in the right direction. Even so, one has to wonder whether the framework will stick, given the history of international data transfer frameworks between the EU and the US.

The business community is hoping that there won’t be a Schrems III on the horizon—but that may very well be the case. Max Schrems’s organization, None of Your Business (stylized as noyb), has issued a preliminary statement arguing that the framework is unlikely to satisfy EU law. As of this writing, the organization is working on a more in-depth analysis that may signal its intentions more clearly, but the decision to uphold the Data Privacy Framework ultimately rests with the Court of European Justice. Time will tell.

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Best,

Arlo


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About The Author · Arlo Gilbert

Arlo Gilbert is the CEO & co-founder of Osano. An Austin, Texas native, he has been building software companies for more than 20 years in categories including telecom, payments, procurement, and compliance. In 2005 Arlo invented voice commerce, he has testified before congress on technology issues, and is a frequent speaker on data privacy rights.