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United States Privacy Digest | Notes from the IAPP, June 4, 2021 Related reading: Notes from the IAPP, May 21, 2021

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Greetings from Portsmouth, New Hampshire!

Did you ever have to write one of those clichéd “What I did over summer vacation” essays when you started a new school year? I can’t remember if I did, but TV taught me they were a staple of everyone’s educational careers. For almost all of us, an essay about what we did during summer 2020 could essentially be summed up with “nothing.”

This year, the prospects are looking much brighter and I couldn’t be more grateful. I’ve lived in a 500-square foot apartment during the COVID-19 pandemic and am ready to literally be anywhere else.

Privacy never takes a summer vacation, as I’m sure you might know. It was last July when the Court of Justice of the European Union issued its “Schrems II” ruling and threw data transfers between the EU and U.S. in disarray.

As hard as it may be to believe, we are nearing the one-year anniversary of “Schrems II,” and there is some semblance of progress on the state of these trans-Atlantic data transfers.

For starters, the European Commission adopted a new slate of standard contractual clauses. This will likely be welcomed with open arms by a privacy community desperately looking for any forward progress on data transfers.

SCCs were one pillar of trans-Atlantic data transfers impacted by the “Schrems II” decision, and for some time now, it was going to be the mechanism addressed first. The other, of course, is the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement.

During the upcoming EU-U.S. summit June 15, President Joe Biden will seek to secure a “political agreement” with the EU on a data transfer deal in hopes of jump-starting talks on a Privacy Shield replacement.

Even if Biden’s meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other EU officials goes perfectly, privacy professionals may not see a new data transfer agreement appear shortly thereafter.

No one expects a new Privacy Shield any time soon, but that does not mean it is a low priority. Both the EU and the U.S. want to get this next data transfer agreement right. No one has the appetite for “Schrems III,” and it may take some significant steps, including a revamp of U.S. privacy laws, to avoid completing a trilogy of court cases.

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