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MEPs press for revised data agreement

The European People’s Party has said that a deal on the transfer of personal data between the EU and the United States must be reached before the end of January, to avoid further impact on businesses and institutions.

Axel Voss, the EPP group’s spokesman on data protection, said on 21 January that he “strongly believes” an agreement is needed by the end of the month. “Thousands of European small and medium-sized enterprises continue to operate in legal limbo on data transfers between the two continents,” the group said in a statement.

The Safe Harbour data transfer agreement was ruled invalid by the Court of Justice of the European Union in October 2015 following a legal challenge by the Austrian student Max Schrems. Schrems objected to the transfer of his data to the US by Facebook, in light of revelations from National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden about the extent of surveillance by US authorities. The ruling threw into question the use of data by organisations, including universities. 

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