The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled Oct. 6 that the EU-U.S. data sharing agreement, known as Safe Harbor, is invalid because the United States has failed to ensure that its “law and practices … ensure an adequate level of protection” for Europeans’ right to privacy.
The Safe Harbor policy, established in 2000, regulates how U.S. companies can handle Europeans’ personal information. But the agreement came under fire from privacy and civil rights groups in the wake of mass surveillance revelations tied to documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Privacy rights groups and some EU legislators have lauded the European Justice Court’s new ruling. But the judgment has triggered concern from some businesses, who warn that they will remain stuck in legal limbo until the European Commission creates a new framework to allow U.S. businesses to import Europeans’ private information.
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