The European Parliament has given a green light to a landmark deal for transferring transatlantic criminal data. The EU-US «Umbrella Agreement" on law enforcement aims to better protect personal information exchanged between the two parties.
To fight terrorism, the United States and Europe need to exchange criminal data. But, equally, citizens' personal information should be protected. This is the Umbrella Agreement's aim, which the European Parliament has at last given the green light. We achieved a lot during negotiations to improve the protection of personal data in the areas of police and justice in the United States. We see there that we really can get better standards than before. Before, US citizens could have their criminal records corrected even in Europe. But Europeans could not do the same in the United States. Thanks to the Umbrella Agreement, everyone will at last have the same rights. If you happen to have the same name as a criminal blacklisted in America, consequences can be severe. EU citizens will be able to have their name deleted – if necessary by a judge – once the mistake is discovered. Finally, data that changes hands will be restricted to specific files and to the duration of the investigation only. This is different to areas such as company data or the intelligence services, where we still have to improve quite a lot in the United States, where their protection is not comparable to our own. In the future, the standards for the exchange of criminal data set out in the agreement could act as a basis for further accords relating to trade data or intelligence services.