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Pompeo 'deeply disappointed' in EU court decision to ditch trans-Atlantic data transfer deal

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the National Constitution Center about the Commission on Unalienable Rights in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 16, 2020. Brendan Smialowski/Pool via REUTERS/File photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday the United States was “deeply disappointed” in a ruling on Thursday by Europe’s highest court that a trans-Atlantic data transfer deal is invalid because of concerns about U.S. surveillance.

Pompeo said in a statement that the United States would review the consequences and implications of the decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union that could disrupt thousands of companies that rely on the agreement.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Court of Justice of the European Union ... has invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework,” Pompeo said.

“The United States will continue to work closely with the EU to find a mechanism to enable the essential unimpeded commercial transfer of data from the EU to the United States,” he added.

The ruling effectively ends the privileged access companies in the United States had to personal data from Europe and puts the country on a similar footing to other nations outside the bloc, meaning data transfers are likely to face closer scrutiny.

The so-called Privacy Shield was set up in 2016 by Washington and Brussels to protect personal data when it is sent to the United States for commercial use after a previous agreement known as Safe Harbour was ruled invalid in 2015.

More than 5,000 companies have signed up to it but the Privacy Shield was challenged in a long-running dispute between Facebook and Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, who has campaigned about the risk of U.S. intelligence agencies accessing data on Europeans.

Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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