Business leaders urge EU and US to meet Safe Harbor deadline

BusinessEurope, the US Chamber of Commerce, DigitalEurope and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) have written to EU negotiators and President Obama stressing how important it is to find a solution before the end of the month.

Following the Schrems decision invalidating EU-US Safe Harbor, the parties have carried on with talks to meet the deadline of 31 January, after which EU Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) may start enforcement action on existing SH arrangements. DPAs are due to meet at the beginning of February to discuss measures to be taken if no solution has been found.

The business leaders put across the following points:

• First, in the near term, it is critical to ensure the conclusion of negotiations on a strengthened mechanism for transatlantic data transfers.

• Second, following conclusion of an agreement, it is important to provide a reasonable transition period in order for companies to come into compliance with the revised framework. This is especially important for the large number of small- and medium-sized enterprises that have depended entirely on the Safe Harbor to transfer data.

• Third, in order to provide the certainty needed to ensure data flows, innovation, and economic growth, the EU and the United States should work to establish a legally durable framework that reflects shared principles on privacy and security, including with respect to surveillance activities.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that discussions will continue in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. US Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker, has delivered a letter to the EU negotiators outlining the additional safeguards, for example, effective monitoring that could be put in place for Safe Harbor.

See the letters