Following the ECJ ruling that the "Safe Harbour" arrangements used since 2000 to facilitate personal data transfer from EU Countries to the United States were invalid, there has been something of a scramble to put in place alternative data transfer processes which comply with strict EU data protection rules.
The ruling, which we reported on in October 2015, arose out of a challenge by an Austrian Facebook user who, like all EU based subscribers, has to contract with Facebook's Irish subsidiary at the time of registration. He complained about the transfer of personal data to Facebook's servers in the United States.
On 2 February 2016 the European Commission announced agreement had now been reached on a new framework to govern transatlantic transfer for personal data. The new arrangement, called the EU-US Privacy Shield, is designed to protect the fundamental rights of Europeans when their data is transferred to the US. However, the full details of the framework are not yet known and will be revealed in the coming weeks. The new agreement will then be put to a committee comprising representatives from each of the national data protection regulators who will advise the European Commission on whether or not it should be adopted.