The LIBE Committee Wants To “Suspend” The Safe Harbor… Along With Thousands of EU Employee Salaries

The LIBE Committee Wants To “Suspend” The Safe Harbor… Along With Thousands of EU Employee Salaries

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) released a draft report yesterday calling for the European Commission to suspend the US-EU Safe Harbor.  FPF has written an in-depth report analyzing the effectiveness of the current Safe Harbor regime and cautioning the European Commission not to revoke the agreement, which has been largely successful in safeguarding user privacy while promoting international data transfers.  We’ve yet to see the Committee’s actual draft, but we are nonetheless concerned that the Commission is so willing to suspend the framework, especially when it will mean that thousands of EU employees risk experiencing delays in getting their paychecks.

The Safe Harbor is a well-established mechanism for the transfer of data between the US and EU and is designed to streamline compliance requirements for US small businesses.  One of the most common types of data transferred from the EU to the US is human resources data – this is because many EU data subjects work for US companies in Europe.  In fact, FPF has searched through the Safe Harbor List and found that over 1,695 companies listed as “current” members use the Safe Harbor to process their human resources data.  That’s over 50% of all companies currently in the program.

If the Safe Harbor framework were suspended, EU citizens whose HR data is stored or handled in the US would be heavily burdened.  US companies who hire EU citizens would need to revert to model contracts, which are strict and expensive to implement (particularly for small businesses).  Inhibiting the flow of HR data between the US and EU could mean delays for EU citizens receiving their paychecks, or a decline in global hiring by US companies.

FPF urges the LIBE committee to consider our recommendations to improve the Safe Harbor framework rather than create additional burdens and expense for companies that employ EU residents.  These recommendations, which include Chris Connolly’s suggestion of appointing a “Safe Harbor Master,” adequately address EU concerns about user privacy while allowing US and EU businesses to continue growing.

Leave a Reply

Privacy Calendar

all-day IAPP Practical Privacy Series 2014
IAPP Practical Privacy Series 2014
Dec 2 – Dec 3 all-day
Government and FTC and Consumer Privacy return to Washington, DC. For more information, click here.
9:00 am Progress of the EU Data Protecti...
Progress of the EU Data Protecti...
Dec 11 @ 9:00 am
The EU Member States have agreed to conclude the negotiations on the EU Data Protection draft Regulation in 2015. The process will have arrived at a critical point by the end of this year. The[...]
8:30 am Privacy as a Profit Center: Leve... @ Old Slip by Convene
Privacy as a Profit Center: Leve... @ Old Slip by Convene
Jan 26 @ 8:30 am – Jan 27 @ 4:15 pm
Learn how those on the leading edge of privacy governance and digital innovation from companies including Cigna, Cisco Systems, eBay Inc. Public Policy Lab, FocusMotion,Ghostery, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Google, HP Enterprise Security Products, JPMorgan[...]
all-day Data Privacy Day
Data Privacy Day
Jan 28 – Jan 29 all-day
“Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008, as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. The Day commemorates the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first[...]
all-day Global Privacy Summit 2015
Global Privacy Summit 2015
Mar 4 – Mar 6 all-day
For more information, click here.
6:00 pm CDT Annual Dinner “TechProm” 2015
CDT Annual Dinner “TechProm” 2015
Mar 10 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Featuring the most influential minds of the tech policy world, CDT’s annual dinner, TechProm, highlights the issues your organization will be facing in the future and provides the networking opportunities that can help you tackle[...]
all-day BCLT Privacy Law Forum
BCLT Privacy Law Forum
Mar 13 all-day
This program will feature leading academics and practitioners discussing the latest developments in privacy law. UC Berkeley Law faculty and conference panelists will discuss cutting-edge scholarship and explore ‘real world’ privacy law problems. Click here[...]

View Calendar