Committee Leaders Urge Commerce & FTC to Work with European Regulators Following Privacy Shield Decision

August 5, 2020

WASHINGTON – The four bipartisan leaders of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons today urging them to work with their European counterparts to issue interim guidance to protect consumers and help businesses following the recent decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that overturned the European Union (EU)-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework.  

The letter was signed by Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Reps. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman and ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

On July 16, the ECJ invalidated the Privacy Shield, which has allowed the transfer of data from the EU to the U.S. in compliance with EU law since 2016.

“In the wake of this decision, thousands of American businesses that rely on Privacy Shield are left with few options for the processing of data from the EU,” the four committee leaders wrote. “This decision may significantly disrupt their operations and the consumers who rely upon their services.”

The four committee leaders wrote that the Privacy Shield is particularly important for small and medium-sized businesses who need a framework for protecting consumer data while engaging with customers in the EU. 

“Avoiding unnecessary disruptions to the businesses affected by the ECJ decision and the consumers they serve is critical,” Wicker, Cantwell, Pallone, and Walden continued in their letter to Ross and Simons. “Accordingly, we encourage you to work closely and expeditiously with your European counterparts to issue interim guidance to make sure that consumer and business services are not unduly disrupted, and personal data is protected.”

Click here to read the letter to the Department of Commerce and FTC.