A harbour which is no longer safe?

Revision of the Safe Harbour Agreement between the EU and the US on the transfer of personal data is coming to a head in the European institutions.

Consumer groups such have BEUC have long identified the many shortcomings in the agreement, its lack of transparency and irregular commercial compliance with it.

The European Commission has set out the actions which need to be taken to restore trust in data flows between the EU and the US following deep concerns about the revelations of large scale US intelligence collection programmes which have had a negative impact on the transatlantic relationship.

The European Commission has identified a series of weaknesses and concluded the current agreement could not be sustained and gave the US until summer 2014 to respond to European concerns.

The European Parliament is also investigating the surveillance programmes and their impact on EU-US relations. During a debate in December 2013, MEPs criticised the Safe Harbour Agreement and called for its immediate suspension.