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Data flows in TTIP

BEUC | 5 August 2015

Data flows in TTIP

The negotiations between the U.S. and the EU on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will address e-commerce and transatlantic data flows. The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) is concerned that including data flows will result in a significant weakening of consumers’ fundamental rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data. It is impossible to address these issues when the data protection regimes in the US and EU are starkly different.

Negotiators’ claims that TTIP will not touch upon issues of privacy or data protection have not been substantiated. Data flows by definition include the flow of personal data. This is even more the case in the context of e-commerce, where a consumer’s personal data needs to be processed to conclude an online sale.

There are currently no comprehensive data protection laws in the United States. In order to transfer personal data to the US, American companies voluntarily commit to apply European standards under the Safe Harbour Act.

This process is largely ineffective, as has been demonstrated by the ongoing review of Safe Harbour. The EU and the US should discuss common data privacy standards, but they should do so outside of the proposed TTIP negotiations considering that the data protection regimes in the US and EU are thoroughly different.

Factsheet available here

 source: BEUC