Don’t Count Your Chickens: It Ain’t over Yet! | Cloud industry forum

Don’t Count Your Chickens: It Ain’t over Yet!

Safe Harbor 2.0 – now known as EU-US Piracy Shield – could yet fail

Andrus Ansip, vice president of the European Commission in charge of the digital single market, announced the EU-US Privacy Shield, formally known as Safe Harbor, just in time for the legal deadline this week.  But according to the Cloud Industry Forum, we are still some way off a final agreement, with a legal challenge potentially on the horizon.

Alex Hilton, CEO, Cloud Industry Forum, explains: “On October 6, 2015, the European Court of Justice struck down the U.S. Safe Harbor that allowed U.S. enterprises to legally move personal data from the European Union (EU) and the rest of the European Economic Area (EAA) to the U.S. In invalidating the Safe Harbor, the court removed a tool upon which thousands of U.S. enterprises depended to move data about EEA citizens across the Atlantic. Technology companies that do business with Europe or need to store European data in the U.S felt the blow,”

“There is now no doubt that the final agreement will take some time to draft from the perspective of the EU. But according to Vera Jourová, the European Commission's commissioner for justice, a new mechanism should be in place in the next few weeks, which will give time for the U.S. to put in place the new measures it has agreed to as part of the deal. But don’t count on it. This process will take time and there is no guarantee that there will not be another legal challenge in the offing.”

As part of the agreement a U.S. ombudsman, independent of the intelligence agencies, will oversee European citizens' complaints about misuse of their data, while the pact will be subject to an annual review process to see if it is working as planned.

Alex continued: “The agreement will help not only tech companies but thousands of other businesses that have been left in limbo since the European Court of Justice ruling in 2015.”

Safe Harbor was an agreement between the U.S. and EU to allow companies to easily transfer customer and employee data across the Atlantic without asking for explicit permission from each person. In the wake of the Snowden revelations, the ECJ upheld a complaint by Austrian student Max Schrems' assertion that the data being sent by Facebook to the U.S. was not safe, leading to three months of intense negotiations to find a new deal.