The United States and European Union share common values. We share common principles on privacy. We have different ways of going about protecting privacy, but we both believe strong protections should be in place.
On June 20, General Counsel Cameron F. Kerry arrived in Rome, Italy for the second leg of his trip to Europe to engage with senior government and private sector officials on consumer data privacy. As President Obama said in the Administration’s policy blueprint, Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy (Privacy Blueprint), “[n]ever has privacy been more important than today, in the age of the Internet, the World Wide Web and smart phones.” The Commerce Department is committed to protecting consumer privacy while encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship, and supporting jobs and growth.
General Counsel Kerry gave panel remarks (available here) on June 21 at a data protection event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy highlighting US-EU cooperation and collaboration in the area of commercial privacy.
Commercial privacy protections have not kept pace with the explosive growth of the Internet. The United States and the EU are both attempting to remedy this problem and set the rules of the road for the 21st Century digital economy. At the same time that the Administration released the Privacy Blueprint, the European Commission proposed a new legal framework for protection of personal data in the EU. The EU shares a goal with the US to protect privacy. General Counsel Kerry in his speech and through meetings with numerous government and business leaders will discuss the US and EU approach to commercial data privacy. Key to these discussions is the underlying goal of insuring the interoperability of our commercial data privacy frameworks. The goal of reaching interoperability means recognizing that the US and EU frameworks are built upon a foundation of shared privacy principles, but that the means of achieving these goals may diverge. Through mutual recognition consumer privacy, the free flow of information, and commerce between the US and Europe will be strengthened - enhancing both our economies at this critical juncture.