On December 13, 2022, the European Commission published its draft adequacy decision recognizing the essential equivalence of U.S. data protection standards, laying the foundations for finalization of the European Union (EU)-U.S. Data Privacy Framework and unhampered cross-border data flows between the EU and the U.S.
By way of background, on January 16, 2020, the EU's highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), rendered its decision in the Schrems II case (Case C-311/18), declaring that the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is invalid because it does not provide an adequate level of protection for the transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S. The CJEU did, however, uphold the validity of standard contractual clauses (SCCs) with certain caveats. In response to this decision, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said that the U.S. Department of State was "disappointed" and had been corresponding with European Commission and European Data Protection Board on this matter. Subsequently, the White House issued an executive order committing to balance U.S. foreign intelligence agencies access to personal data against the privacy of EU citizens.
On January 17, 2023, the European Data Protection Board reported that it would use its next plenary meeting to discuss the proposed EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework. This is an important next step in cementing the proposed EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework and maintaining the $7.1 trillion transatlantic economic relationship.