This independent study assesses how EU standards on privacy and data protection are safeguarded from liberalisation by existing free trade agreements (the General Agreement of Trade in Services (GATS) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)) and those that are currently under negotiation (the Trans-atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)). It was jointly commissioned by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) and European Digital Rights (EDRi), and executed by the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam.
The study, which was coauthored by Kristina Irion, Svetlana Yakovleva and Marija Bartl from UvA’s Faculty of Law, identifies critical issues where EU data protection law and free trade agreements may risk running into conflict. In the context of the highly-charged discourse surrounding the new generation free trade agreements under negotiation, this study applies legal methods in order to derive nuanced conclusions about the preservation of the EU’s right to regulate privacy and the protection of personal data. Based on the premise that the EU does not negotiate its privacy and data protection standards, the study clarifies safeguards and risks in respectively the EU legal order and international trade law.
The study was presented at the Round 14 TTIP Stakeholder Dialog on 13 July in Brussels and in a special event on 12 October hosted by MEP Viviane Reding at the European Parliament in Brussels.
The results of the study were widely covered in the Dutch and European media:
- ‘Privacy onvoldoende gewaarborgd in handelsverdragen EU‘, nu.nl, 13 juli 2016;
- ‘EU stelt privacy burgers onvoldoende veilig‘, Digital Telegraaf, 13 juli 2016;
- ‘EU stelt privacy burgers onvoldoende veilig‘, Einhovens Dagblad, 13 juli 2016;
- Monika Ermert, ‘Transatlantischer Zoff: Digitaler Datenschutz oder digitaler Protektionismus?‘, 16 July 2016, heise.de;
- Léa Auffret, ‘Why privacy safeguards in trade deals need urgent improvement‘, 20 October 2016, beuc.eu