Hogan Lovells Issues Authoritative legal Analysis of the EU US Privacy Shield

In a thorough first legal analysis of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework, a report from Hogan Lovells says the framework would stand up in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), and that the true level of data protection afforded by the Privacy Shield framework will only be demonstrated by its functioning and the practices of its participants. 

The report provides an objective view of the new framework concerning transatlantic dataflows and includes a rigorous assessment of the Privacy Shield based on European jurisprudence. 

The Hogan Lovells analysis finds that the Privacy Shield Framework substantially meets the criteria for adequacy under Article 25(6) of the Data Protection Directive, as interpreted by the CJEU, and concludes that the framework provides an ‘essentially equivalent’ level of protection for personal data transferred from the EU to the US.

Eduardo Ustaran, London-based partner at Hogan Lovells, and lead author of the report, comments: 

"Overcoming the limitations of European data protection law to transfer personal data to countries outside the European Union, in particular the United States, has long been a compliance priority for organisations which operate internationally. The Privacy Shield is crucial in bridging the gap between European and American approaches to privacy and it is therefore essential that it can be relied upon with complete certainty.

"Given the pressures to ensure that personal data transferred from the EU to the US is protected in accordance with European standards, the Privacy Shield will be subject to strict scrutiny by regulators and the courts as it becomes an established framework for compliance.  Accordingly, assessing and determining the robustness and legal validity of the Privacy Shield is a business and political necessity."

Hogan Lovells’ report provides an objective view on the adequacy of the Privacy Shield. It considers the historical background that preceded the adoption of the Privacy Shield as well as the precise legal criteria that the CJEU would likely use in the future to determine the validity of the new framework.

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is the result of a political agreement on a new framework for transatlantic exchange of personal data for commercial purposes, which was reached by the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce on 2 February 2016. It will replace the original Safe Harbor framework, whose legal basis was invalidated by the CJEU, and aims to protect the fundamental rights of Europeans once their data is transferred to the United States and to ensure legal certainty for businesses.

A full copy of the report from Hogan Lovells can be found here.


After more than two years of negotiations with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the European Commission released its draft Decision on the adequacy of the new EU–U.S. Privacy Shield programme, accompanied by new information on how the programme will work. The Privacy Shield documentation is significantly more detailed than that associated with its predecessor, the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor, as it describes more specifically the measures that organisations wishing to use the Privacy Shield must implement. Importantly, the Privacy Shield provides for additional transparency and processes associated with US government access to the personal data of EU individuals. 

The Privacy Shield is still not yet in effect. The details are under review now by the EU’s Article 29 Working Party, which will render a non-binding opinion in the coming weeks. Taking that opinion into account, the full European Commission will then formally vote on the adequacy of the Privacy Shield programme, at which point it will take effect. 

A full summary of and further comment on the Privacy Shield programme can be found here, and on Twitter: @EUstaran


About Hogan Lovells 


Hogan Lovells is a leading global law firm providing business-oriented legal advice and high-quality service across its exceptional breadth of practices to clients around the world.

"Hogan Lovells" or the "firm" is an international legal practice that includes Hogan Lovells International LLP, Hogan Lovells US LLP and their affiliated businesses.

The word "partner" is used to describe a partner or member of Hogan Lovells International LLP, Hogan Lovells US LLP or any of their affiliated entities or any employee or consultant with equivalent standing. Certain individuals, who are designated as partners, but who are not members of Hogan Lovells International LLP, do not hold qualifications equivalent to members.  

For more information about Hogan Lovells, the partners and their qualifications, see www.hoganlovells.com. Where case studies are included, results achieved do not guarantee similar outcomes for other clients.

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