USCIB Cites Concerns Over End of “Safe Harbor”

Digital GlobeUSCIB joined 22 other associations in signing a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker explaining how the wholesale invalidation of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program will negatively impact the business operations of thousands of companies that rely on transatlantic commercial data transfers.

Established in 2000, the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework makes it easier for American companies to certify that they meet an “adequacy” standard for digital privacy protection, which under EU law is necessary to allow businesses to transfer data from EU countries. On October 6, the EU Court of Justice ruled that the 2000 U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Decision is invalid.

“This invalidation constitutes a serious disruption for the thousands of companies that have relied on the framework for commercial data transfers between the EU and the United States,” wrote USCIB and 22 other U.S. and EU tech-based associations in a joint letter to the European Commission. “These commercial data flows are central to facilitating transatlantic trade and the continued development of Europe’s data driven economy.”

The letter explained that “companies take their legal commitments very seriously when transferring data to the United States in compliance with European law,” and that the EU court’s judgement has created legal uncertainty. The letter urged the European Commission to come up with a harmonized implementation of the court’s judgement, so as to avoid “fragmenting the EU’s common approach to international data transfers.”

The joint letter also called on the European Commission to provide guidance for companies operating under the safe harbor framework, and for both the U.S. government and the Commission to urgently conclude their negotiations aimed at strengthening the Safe Harbor framework.

Read the full letter here.

Staff Contact:   Barbara Wanner

VP, ICT Policy
Tel: 202.617.3155

Barbara Wanner directs USCIB’s work on information, communications and technology issues. She works with members and government officials on a wide range of international business issue that include advocating for the continuation of the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance and for policies aimed at promoting the stability, openness and innovative flexibility of the Internet. She represents USCIB members’ interests in several international forums, including the UN, APEC and the OECD.
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