EU US PRIVACY SHIELD FRAMEWORK 7. Suspension of the Adequacy Decision

  1. Where, on the basis of the checks or of any other information available, the Commission concludes that the level of protection offered by the Privacy Shield can no longer be regarded as essentially equivalent to the one in the Union, or where there are clear indications that effective compliance with the Principles in the United States might no longer be ensured, or that the actions of U.S. public authorities responsible for national security or the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences do not ensure the required level of protection, it will inform the Department of Commerce thereof and request that appropriate measures are taken to swiftly address any potential non-compliance with the Principles within a specified, reasonable timeframe. If, after the expiration of the specified timeframe, the U.S. authorities fail to demonstrate satisfactorily that the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield continues to guarantee effective compliance and an adequate level of protection, the Commission will initiate the procedure leading to the partial or complete suspension or repeal of this decision[1]. Alternatively, the Commission may propose to amend this decision, for instance by limiting the scope of the adequacy finding only to data transfers subject to additional conditions.
  2. In particular, the Commission will initiate the procedure for suspension or repeal in case of:
      1. indications that the U.S. authorities do not comply with the representations and commitments contained in the documents annexed to this decision, including as regards the conditions and limitations for access by U.S. public authorities for law enforcement, national security and other public interest purposes to personal data transferred under the Privacy Shield;
      2. failure to effectively address complaints by EU data subjects; in this respect, the Commission will take into account all circumstances having an impact on the possibility for EU data subjects to have their rights enforced, including, in particular, the voluntary commitment by self-certified U.S. companies to cooperate with the DPAs and follow their advice; or
      3. failure by the Privacy Shield Ombudsperson to provide timely and appropriate responses to requests from EU data subjects.
  1. The Commission will also consider initiating the procedure leading to the amendment, suspension, or repeal of this decision if, in the context of the Annual Joint Review of the functioning of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield or otherwise, the Department of Commerce or other departments or agencies involved in the implementation of the Privacy Shield, or, for matters pertaining to national security, representatives of the U.S. Intelligence Community or the Ombudsperson, fail to provide information or clarifications necessary for the assessment of compliance with the Principles, the effectiveness of complaint handling procedures, or any lowering of the required level of protection as a consequence of actions by U.S. national intelligence authorities, in particular as a consequence of the collection and/or access to personal data that is not limited to what is strictly necessary and proportionate. In this respect, the Commission will take into account the extent to which the relevant information can be obtained from other sources, including through reports from self-certified U.S. companies as allowed under the USA FREEDOM Act.
  2. The Working Party on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data established under Article 29 of Directive 95/46/EC published its opinion on the level of protection provided by the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield[2], which has been taken into account in the preparation of this Decision.
  3. The European Parliament adopted a resolution on transatlantic data flows[3].
  4. The measures provided for in this Decision are in accordance with the opinion of the Committee established under Article 31(1) of Directive 95/46/EC,


[1] As of the date of application of the General Data Protection Regulation, the Commission will make use of its powers to adopt, on duly justified imperative grounds of urgency, an implementing act suspending the present decision which shall apply immediately without its prior submission to the relevant comitology committee and shall remain in force for a period not exceeding six months.

[2] Opinion 01/2016 on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield draft adequacy decision, adopted on 13 April 2016.

[3] European Parliament resolution of 26 May 2016 on transatlantic data flows ((2016/2727(RSP)).