'Disappointed' US says EU data ruling threatens digital economy

US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker at forum in Washington, DC.
US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker at forum in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said Tuesday that a decision by the European Court of Justice invalidating a key transatlantic data-sharing agreement endangers digital trade between the United States and Europe.

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said Washington is "deeply disappointed" in the court's ruling, saying it "creates significant uncertainty for both US and EU companies and consumers and puts at risk the thriving transatlantic digital economy".

Ms Pritzker said the invalidated agreement, the 2000 Safe Harbor Framework, "has proven to be critical to protecting privacy on both sides of the Atlantic and to supporting economic growth in the United States and the EU".

In a major blow to US tech firms, the top EU court said the framework agreement between the United States and the EU did not sufficiently guarantee the protection of Europeans' personal data.

Pritzker, though, said the decision "does not credit the benefits to privacy and growth that have been afforded by this framework over the last 15 years".

But she noted that for two years Washington has been working with the European Commission to strengthen the framework "with robust and transparent protection", and called for the release of an updated agreement "as soon as possible".

"We are prepared to work with the European Commission to address uncertainty created by the court decision," she added.