A new article by The Wall Street Journal has revealed that only around 40 companies in the US have received certification for the new US-EU Privacy Shield, which aims to protect European data processed on US servers. However, experts believe that the number of applications will grow steadily in the coming months.
The US Department of Commerce has been assessing applications since the beginning of August, and there are believed to be a further 200 in the pipeline, though that figure is significantly short of the 4,000 enterprises that were on board for the now-defunct Safe Harbour agreement.
The Privacy Shield was drafted earlier this year and has already been adopted by the European Commission for certifying whether US companies are compliant with data protection regulations in the EU. It is the latest programme aiming to regulate transatlantic data transfers.
The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) also approved the framework last month, easing fears from some enterprises that it would not be adopted despite the greenlight from the European Commission. However, there remains concerns about the commercial aspects of the agreement and how much access that US public authorities may have to any data transferred.
“The first joint annual review will therefore be a key moment for the robustness and efficiency of the Privacy Shield mechanism to be further assessed,” the European privacy regulators said. “When participating in the review, the national representatives of the WP29 will not only assess if the remaining issues have been solved, but also if the safeguards provided under the EU-US Privacy Shield are workable and effective.”
This means that the process will continue for another 12 months before an official review could introduce changes. The fact that the framework is not set in stone and could be challenged by privacy advocates in a similar manner to the previous Safe Harbour agreement has led to a slower response from companies, though this is expected to pick up soon.
Microsoft and Salesforce are among those that are already in compliance with the new rules, and tech giants such as Google and Facebook are expected to follow soon.