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Safe Harbour deal secures US-Irish tech sector– MEP Kelly

Published: Wed, 03 February 2016

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Seán Kelly MEP has welcomed the agreement between the EU and US on the exchange of data or Safe Harbour, as good news for the Irish technology sector. “If a deal had not been reached, there would have been a real danger of many digital and technology companies leaving Ireland resulting in the loss of thousands and thousands of jobs,” Mr Kelly said in Strasbourg.

“Most of Europe’s largest technology companies have a base in Ireland, therefore any impediment to their ability to do business in Europe would affect Ireland most. This agreement provides certainty that they will have the ability to continue to work in Europe thanks to a clear and reasonable legal framework for the transatlantic transfer of data,” MEP Kelly continued.

“Following previous revelations concerning data under national security parameters, the EU sought out commitments on that there will be more oversight and individual redress and an agreement was reached today.”

Mr Kelly, a leading European Parliament negotiator on the subject of Data Protection who held several meetings with his US counterparts in a bid to secure a deal, says the agreement is good news for Ireland and transatlantic trade and innovation.

The EU required that an independent Ombudsman be established in the US to answer complaints from EU citizens in relation to data transfer and privacy concerns. The Ombudsman will have the capacity to act and give an adequate reply to individual complaints.

In the case of companies and the right of action in the case of privacy violations, the complaint should be resolved by the company directly. If this is not possible, EU citizens can alternatively use the dispute settlement mechanism and go to the data protection authority for instance. A commitment from the US to conduct an annual joint review on the functioning of the mechanism was also achieved.

“It is crucial that European citizens are protected and that business is not hampered when a reasonable, practical compromise on such matters can be reached. Data Protection is complex and perhaps the most challenging area of legislation today,” Mr Kelly added.

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