EU court declares US Safe Harbor Decision invalid

A system has been in pace to assist companies who operate in Europe and the US called Safe Harbor. The framework for Safe Harbor was set up fifteen years ago and allows companies who have operations in both Europe and the US to easily transfer data between the two distant locations. A new decision by an EU court of Justice has now declared Safe Harbor invalid.

The ruling will leave companies that were using Safe Harbor looking for an alternative to continue business as usual. The Safe Harbor framework came under inspection by EU authorities after it was learned that the US might be snooping on the data in 2013.

With the Safe Harbor ruling invalidated, personal data transfers are forbidden and may only be made using more expensive and time consuming methods. EU law prohibits data-sharing with countries that have lower privacy standards than EU member nations, and the US has lower privacy standards.

The Court of Justice of the EU has said that US firms are "bound to disregard, without limitation" Safe Harbor privacy standards when they are in conflict with national security, public interest, and law enforcement requirements of the US. The case against Safe Harbor started when an Austrian law student called Max Schrems began trying to stop data transfers to the US of Facebook's European users data.

SOURCE: Reuters