Bitkom on fines for international data transfers

Berlin, 22 May 2023 - The Irish data protection regulator today imposed a record fine on the US company Meta. The decision is one of a series of current proceedings concerning international data transfers. Bitkom Chief Executive Dr Bernhard Rohleder explains:

"Europe must not build a transatlantic data blockade. Decoupling the EU from the offers and services of the international data economy leads to digital isolation and harms Europe's people and businesses far more than it benefits them. A functioning legal framework for international data transfers between the EU and the US must now be a top priority for policymakers. Since the abolition of the Privacy Shield, legal uncertainty has been growing among companies. Standard contractual clauses and case-by-case reviews are clearly not enough and overburden small and medium-sized enterprises in particular anyway. That is why we now urgently need a successor agreement to the Privacy Shield that will also withstand future judicial review. 

German, European and US companies alike will not be able to maintain their offerings if they have to severely restrict or completely shut down data traffic and communications between the US and Europe. What is threatening is a disruption of international data transfers that would have at least as great an impact on the German and European economy as the disruption of physical supply chains - and which would also be felt by citizens. This is as much about the use of cloud storage and standard software from US providers as it is about communication in social networks or the use of video conferencing systems."