Safe Harbor is Dead... Long Live Privacy Shield

February 2nd, 2016 by inflectra

Well it happened, one day later than expected (or hoped!). The US and EU have managed to work out a deal to allow the continued cross-border transfer of data that relates to EU citizens. What does this mean for the cloud industry? Business as normal? Same toothless process as before, or something meaningful...

What Happened?

A new transatlantic data transfer deal has been announced today between the EU and the US. The new EU-US Privacy Shield will replace the old Safe Harbor agreement, which was invalidated by the European Court of Justice last October, on the grounds that US mass surveillance programs were violating fundamental European privacy rights.

Why Does it Matter?

Many businesses that use cloud services (like SpiraTeam or KronoDesk) have offices and users in different parts of the world and yet need to be able to share and collaborate globally. When the EU struck down Safe Harbor, there are solutions for companies based solely in the US (do nothing) or in the EU (use hosting located in EU), but for companies with globally distributed teams that need to collaborate, neither is really a good solution.

So it is great news for the software industry, companies  that use cloud-based collaboration tools and anyone who cares about data privacy and security. With the new agreement, it should hopefully enable companies that need to share data legitimately, whilst at the same time valuing a citizen's fundamental right to control their own data.

What are the Risks?

The reason Safe Harbor failed in the first place (in our opinion) is that all it required, was that companies promise to do the right thing (Scouts honor!), publish some boilerplate on their website, pay some fees to some agencies and otherwise do nothing differently...

If the new Privacy Shield is to fare better, it needs to be actually ensure that citizens' privacy is respected, safeguards are in place and that people can actually trust it... as always time will tell..

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