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January 15 2014

EU, U.S. Officials Indicate Potential Privacy Agreement at Data Protection Congress

"The keynote stage at the IAPP Data Protection Congress in Brussels became a diplomatic back and forth as Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau, the Head of Cabinet of Vice-President of the European Commission Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes, first delivered the European Commission 's view of data protection and then was followed by an address from U.S. Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill. Both emphasized the need to encourage innovation and the threats to privacy posed by new Big Data business models. Both expressed hopefulness and optimism that the U.S. and the EU would find a way to work together on data transfer regulations. Reading between the lines, it was easy to see a desire from both parties to preserve data transfer mechanisms like Safe Harbor in order to set up a good old-fashioned battle between their respective industries looking to turn a profit in the online space. ""We need to insure that new technologies address privacy, though, without the law being a straightjacket, said Oranje-Nassau. ""Mastering Big Data means mastering privacy."" Brill 's speech echoed the commission 's language as she discussed the future of the U.S.-EU transatlantic relationship. ""As we contemplate the course, we have to decide whether we, regulators and industry, will be able to work together to both protect consumer privacy and spur innovation."""