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The European Commission on Monday published the legal texts underpinning a new data protection agreement with the United States that sets out the conditions according to which personal data on EU citizens can be held in computers on US soil. 

The legal texts include a reform of EU Data protection rules, which apply to all companies providing services in the EU, an 'Umbrella Agreement' regarding transatlantic data transfers for law enforcement purposes, and a replacement of the old 'Safe Harbour' framework for commercial data transfers, known as the EU-US Privacy Shield. 

The new rules aim to reassure Europeans that their data will be protected from indiscriminate snooping by American intelligence agencies and aim to bring to an end over two years of legal uncertainty for companies including US internet giants Google and Facebook. 

Companies wishing to transfer personal data on EU citizens to the US will now face tighter rules about passing such data on to other companies and the US government has agreed to clear safeguards and transparency obligations concerning access by its intelligence agencies. Europeans will also have access to redress mechanisms including a free alternative dispute resolution mechanism and an independent 'Ombudsperson.'

Implementation of the agreement will also be subject to an annual review by the European Commission and the US Department of Commerce. 

The legal texts will now be reviewed by European data protection authorities and a committee of experts from the EU Member States, while the consent of the European Parliament will also be sought on the Umbrella Agreement.  

Links to the legal texts and accompanying documents can be found here http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-433_en.htm


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Jennifer Sharman Koh is a solicitor of England & Wales who has practiced international arbitration in London, Paris and Brussels, advising multinationals and governments on major international disputes. She has extensive document review experience both in the development of managed review protocols and in the practical setting-up of reviews across Europe. At LexSensis, she built-up a large network of lawyers to work on document reviews across Europe, whatever the country, whatever the language. Jennifer is responsible for operational and strategic aspects of LexSensis and is the key client contact in the Benelux.

Io-Anna Lianos is a dual-qualified solicitor admitted in England and Wales and at the Athens Bar Association, Greece. She is an expert consultant in complex eDiscovery and Managed Review processes with years of experience managing large-scale document review projects across Europe and Asia. In 2009, Io-Anna founded DLR Legal, one of the pioneers of document review consulting in London, specializing in multilingual reviews across Europe. She built up a large Europe-wide network of document review specialists, covering 28 jurisdictions and a multitude of languages. Over the course of her career to date, Io-Anna has advised clients on all aspects of managed review processes, including on best practices for solving complex managed review and legal staffing needs. She is the Director of LexSensis, responsible for all operational and strategic aspects.