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Europe, U.S. sign data protection deal

Staff writer |
The European Union and the United States on Thursday signed a deal to protect personal data transferred across the Atlantic in a bid to fight crime and terrorism.

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The so-called umbrella agreement signed in the Dutch city of Amsterdam follows five years of talks hobbled by European concerns about revelations of large-scale US snooping, AFP repots.

"It will improve cooperation between U.S. and European law enforcement authorities when combatting serious crime and terrorism," Dutch Justice Minister Ard van der Steur said at a signing ceremony during the six-month Dutch presidency of the EU.

"It will advance the full respect for fundamental rights whenever personal data is being transferred between us," he said at the ceremony with US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The European parliament must still give its consent to the agreement which was signed after the United States adopted in February a prerequisite law granting EU citizens the right to judicial redress in the US.

An EU statement said the umbrella agreement covers all personal information shared between EU member states and US law enforcement authorities in a bid to prevent, investigate, detect and prosecute criminal offences, including terrorism.

The deal will not only facilitate law enforcement cooperation but guarantee the legality of data transfers, it added.

Safeguards include setting clear limits on data use and requiring agencies to seek consent before data is transferred, it said.

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