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 Indoor Location, Privacy and Avoiding “The Creepy Line” @ W New York - Union Square
Indoor Location, Privacy and Avo… @ W New York - Union Square
Jul 22 all-day
Consumer privacy is probably the key issue facing digital marketers: personalization and targeting vs. “surveillance.” As smartphones increasingly make data about offline consumer behavior available, [...]
all-day Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion? @ Constitution Center
Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion o… @ Constitution Center
Sep 15 all-day
The Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop entitled “Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?” in Washington on September 15, 2014, to [...]
all-day IAPP Privacy Academy and CSA Congress 2014 @ San Jose Convention Center
IAPP Privacy Academy and CSA Con… @ San Jose Convention Center
Sep 17 – Sep 19 all-day
This fall, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) and Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) are bringing together the IAPP Privacy Academy and the CSA Congress [...]
6:00 pm Consumer Action’s 43rd Annual Awards Reception @ Google
Consumer Action’s 43rd Annual Aw… @ Google
Oct 21 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
To mark its 43rd anniversary, Consumer Action’s Annual Awards Reception on October 21, 2014, will celebrate the theme of “Train the Trainer.” Through the power of [...]
all-day Data Privacy Day
Data Privacy Day
Jan 28 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 [...]

View Calendar