The EU and US share a common commitment to privacy protection as a cornerstone of democracy. Following the Treaty of Lisbon, data privacy is a fundamental right that the European Union must proactively guarantee. In the United States, data privacy derives from constitutional protections in the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment as well as federal and state statute, consumer protection law and common law. The ultimate goal of effective privacy protection is shared. However, current friction between the two legal systems poses challenges to realizing privacy and the free flow of information across the Atlantic. Recent expansion of online surveillance practices underline these challenges.
Over nine months, the group prepared a consensus report outlining a menu of privacy “bridges” that can be built to bring the European Union and the United States closer together. The efforts are aimed at providing a framework of practical options that advance strong, globally-accepted privacy values in a manner that respects the substantive and procedural differences between the two jurisdictions.
The report will be presented at the 2015 International Conference of Privacy and Data Protection Commissioners, which the Dutch Data Protection Authority will host in Amsterdam on 28-29 October 2015.
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Privacy Bridges is a joint project of the University of Amsterdam and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.