by Mark Linnhoefer – Many US companies that are currently using an intercontinental data transfer system called Safe Harbor which allowed them to self certify the fact that they meet European standards are now in trouble as the European Court of Justice deemed the system to be too unsafe to ensure protection of European data against access by the U.S. government.
The main worry that smaller American companies have is that European clients will switch to European providers if the data flow to some American companies will be cut off. Large corporations like IBM are not as worried as their legal departments are prepared for that kind of event and have prepared the necessary legal arrangements. Another issue that almost every U.S. company with an overseas department could face is that HR related data will not be able to be transferred to the American headquarters as easily anymore, creating the need for an alternate data processing structure that many smaller firms will simply not be able to afford or handle.
The director of Symantec, one of the affected companies, says that “the flow of data” cannot be isolated “within one territory or jurisdiction.” The ECJ disagrees, and although the E.U. and U.S. are apparently working on a renewed agreement, European companies are already sensing a huge opportunity coming up for them as many firms will now be forced to store their data within the E.U.
This reporter personally applauds this decision as a transatlantic transfer of sensitive personal data to probably NSA surveilled American servers is not necessarily something that is good for the European population. Selah.