Discouraging signs in the roadmap for the future U.K.-EU relationship suggest that ambitions for a free trade agreement may not be satisfied.
Kenneth Propp teaches European Union law at Georgetown University Law Center, and consults on transatlantic digital and privacy issues. He was director of trade policy for BSA | The Software Alliance, a trade association of major software companies, where he advised and advocated on digital trade and international privacy issues. Prior to that, he served from 2011-2015 as legal counselor at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, leading its diplomatic and legal activities with the EU on privacy and digital legal and policy issues. As an attorney at the U.S. Department of State, he participated in negotiation of a number of international trade agreements, as well as a series of agreements reached between the United States and the European Union on data transfer in the commercial and law enforcement contexts.
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As the United Kingdom approaches the early 2017 start of negotiations on its departure from the European Union, questions are emerging about the future direction of the country’s EU-based data privacy laws.
It’s time for Europe to acknowledge that bulk data collection and privacy are not utterly in conflict, and to find a way out of the thicket in which it is increasingly entangled.
The newly passed Judicial Redress Act and U.S.-EU Privacy Shield may signal that icy cross-Atlantic tensions over privacy and security are starting to thaw.