NRF to meet with officials on transatlantic data flows and e-commerce policy

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The National Retail Federation and member companies will meet with senior US and EU officials this week to discuss transatlantic data flows and other EU e-commerce policy issues.

“Retail is global and retailers want to ensure that consumer and employee data is properly protected when it is transferred from Europe to the United States,” said Paul Martino, vice president and advisor principal of the NRF. “Protecting data as it crosses international borders is essential to global retail operations, and US retailers want to work closely with their European counterparts and government officials on both sides of the Atlantic to address the challenges. operational and legal challenges involved. “

The NRF and its Brussels counterpart EuroCommerce will hold their fifth annual joint meeting today and Thursday with senior officials from the European Commission and the European Data Protection Board. The meetings were first held in person in Brussels, but were replaced by a virtual format last year and this year in light of the pandemic. On Friday, the NRF and U.S. retailers will meet virtually with officials and staff from the U.S. mission to the European Union and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

This week’s meetings will build on work started last year after the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield was struck down by the EU’s highest court. The Privacy Shield was approved by the European Commission and the US Department of Commerce in 2016 to replace the 15-year-old Safe Harbor agreement for transatlantic data flows that was struck down in 2015. Schrems decision of the European Court of Justice.

In his Schrems II Decision taken in 2020, the same court also overturned the Privacy Shield, but ensured the validity of existing standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission that serve as an alternative transfer mechanism for businesses. However, the decision set additional conditions for their use that called into question the continued dependence of global companies on CCS.

NRF and EuroCommerce earlier this year formed a joint task force on international data transfers with the aim of fostering greater regulatory certainty for retailers as they negotiate EU data protection requirements on data transfers of customers and employees from EU countries to the United States. In August, the task force submitted a document to the European Commission highlighting uncertainties within the retail industry regarding the implementation of the revised CCNs released by the commission this summer. The document called for clarification on a series of implementation issues, which the NRF anticipates will be addressed in an FAQ document expected from the committee this fall.

In addition to the implementation of the new SCCs, this week’s meetings are expected to address:

  • Prospects for a successor agreement to the invalidated Privacy Shield
  • Questions regarding the application and enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation, including its potential overlap with the proposed e-Privacy Regulation
  • Proposal for the regulation of electronic commerce platforms, including those considered to occupy a “gatekeeper” position
  • New EU regulations on artificial intelligence, including those that would affect AI-powered voice assistants

Lenise Willis, editor-in-chief; Anne-Marie Earl, editor-in-chief; and Alex Herring, editor; make up the editorial team of Gifts & Decorative Accessories. The team keeps abreast of the latest product trends, market debuts, consumer insights and business news to keep retailers up to date with what’s happening in the gift industry. With reports from the GDA team, retailers are able to increase customer engagement, diversify their product line and more.


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