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’Privacy Shield’ Replacing Invalidated EU-US Safe Harbor Agreement is Open for Business, but Challenges to its Validity are Expected

09/12/2016

The Safe Harbor agreement between the European Union and the United States permitted American businesses to import personal data of EU citizens based on self-certification of compliance with EU data protection principles. Safe Harbor was widely criticized in Europe as being too easily circumvented, too infrequently enforced and, in general, offering too little protection to the personal data of EU citizens.

Edward Snowden’s 2013 claim that the U.S. National Security Agency (“NSA”) was collecting vast quantities of personal data of foreign nationals provided to it by Internet companies dramatically escalated EU criticisms of Safe Harbor. Snowden’s revelations led European data processing authorities (“DPAs”) and EU representatives to insist on negotiations with the United States to strengthen Safe Harbor if termination of that agreement by the EU was to be avoided.

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