Safe Harbour and the Shortsighted Data Protection Authorities

After the EU Commission met the industry (I was there on behalf of an European industry association) to hear the voice of the business, yesterday it met the Article29 working party (the EU gathering of the national Data Protection Authorities) to explore the possibility of of a short-term solution to avoid exposing thousand and thousand of innocent companies to investigations and fines for “infringing” the data protection directive after the Safe Harbour has been stricken down by the EU Court of justice.

The outcome of this meeting has been very simple: the Data Protection Authorities just couldn’t agree on the possibility of using standard model clauses or binding corporate rules as a viable Safe Harbour alternative, refused to agree on the fact that companies relying upon the Safe Harbour for about fifteen years are entitled to a grace period and feared of no being able to stop the data flow toward the US because of the lack of resources. To put it short: the industry has been left without certainties, victim of potential legal complains, but with no alternative but carry on its activities.

I don’t know if this folks at the Article29 actually live on Mother Earth or in Outer Space. Fact is that such kind of attitude – blindly following a (questionable) reading of the EU data protection directive – is a danger for the international economic system as well as for the safety of the citizens.

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