The head of the US Federal Trade Commission has attempted to play down claims that the transatlantic data pact Privacy Shield has been blown apart by the recent Donald Trump executive order, insisting “in her opinion” nothing has changed.
The comments by Maureen Ohlhausen, who it must be stressed is only acting FTC chief, follow concerns raised by EU officials that the executive order undermines transatlantic agreements on protecting EU citizens’ rights, including the Privacy Shield accord.
Data protection rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht and EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova both waded into the row.
But Ohlhausen has said the transatlantic agreement is unaffected by the President’s controversial decision and that the FTC “will continue to enforce the Privacy Shield protections”, although she raised more than a few eyebrows by adding: “We hope we will move ahead as planned. In my opinion, nothing has changed.”
However, Privacy Shield is still facing its first annual review in July, during which the highly influential EU Article 29 Working Party plans to “not only assess if the remaining issues have been solved, but also if the safeguards provided under the EU-US Privacy Shield are workable and effective”.
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