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Will personal data have a Safe Harbor in the U.S.?

Engdahl, Karl-Hugo (2015) JURM01 20151
Department of Law
Abstract
The technological development and above all the internet has had a major impact on international trade. The ability to transfer data within companies, but also between companies and countries is an essential part of this development and the ability to transfer data today is a central component of companies’ everyday activities. In practice, a company cannot do business, or engage in trade, without transferring data between companies in different countries. This condition applies not only in IT companies or technology companies, but in principle all types of companies, for example, financial companies, recruitment companies, transportation companies, etc. A majority of the transferred data is personal data which has a special protective... (More)
The technological development and above all the internet has had a major impact on international trade. The ability to transfer data within companies, but also between companies and countries is an essential part of this development and the ability to transfer data today is a central component of companies’ everyday activities. In practice, a company cannot do business, or engage in trade, without transferring data between companies in different countries. This condition applies not only in IT companies or technology companies, but in principle all types of companies, for example, financial companies, recruitment companies, transportation companies, etc. A majority of the transferred data is personal data which has a special protective value and are prohibited to be transferred outside the EU / EEA.

To transfer personal data to third countries, companies need to use one of the transmission mechanisms available in the Directive. In order to promote trade between the EU and U.S., these two parties have signed an agreement to facilitate the transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S., this agreement is called the Safe Harbor agreement. A U.S. company, in certain industries, is able to self-certify under the Safe Harbor agreement.

The Safe Harbor agreement has been debated since it was signed but after the high-profile revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, the criticism increased. The criticism did not decrease after that it was also revealed that U.S. companies, that were Safe Harbor Certified, had been involved. The criticism led to the European Commission set out 13 recommendations to the U.S. on measures that the U.S. should take in order to rebuild trust in the Safe Harbor agreement. From the EU’s side, they threatened to terminate the agreement if measures were not taken by the US, by summer 2014. Criticism from various sources in the EU called for an immediate termination of the agreement or at least a suspension of the agreement until it had had time to investigate whether the United States could meet its commitments.

Termination of the Safe Harbor agreement would have major consequences on the transatlantic trade and companies would have to take costly measures. Politicians and authorities in the U.S are of the opinion that the Safe Harbor agreement is a sufficient protection and that the impact would be too great if it was terminated. While in Europe, on the surface anyway, they are prepared to terminate the agreement no matter price. While these discussions are on going, the EU is working on a new regulatory framework for the protection of personal data that can possibly change the game plan (Less)
Popular Abstract (Swedish)
Den tekniska utvecklingen och framförallt internet har haft stor påverkan på den internationella handeln. Möjligheten att överföra data inom företag men också mellan företag och länder är en grundläggande del av denna utveckling och möjligheten att överföra data är idag en central del i företagens vardagliga verksamhet. I praktiken kan ett företag inte göra affärer, eller delta i handel, utan att överföra data mellan företag i olika länder. Denna förutsättning gäller inte bara inom IT bolag eller teknikbolag utan i princip alla typer av bolag, exv. finansiella bolag, rekryteringsbolag, transportbolag etc. En majoritet av den data som överförs är personuppgifter vilka har ett speciellt skyddsvärde och får som huvudregel inte fritt överföras... (More)
Den tekniska utvecklingen och framförallt internet har haft stor påverkan på den internationella handeln. Möjligheten att överföra data inom företag men också mellan företag och länder är en grundläggande del av denna utveckling och möjligheten att överföra data är idag en central del i företagens vardagliga verksamhet. I praktiken kan ett företag inte göra affärer, eller delta i handel, utan att överföra data mellan företag i olika länder. Denna förutsättning gäller inte bara inom IT bolag eller teknikbolag utan i princip alla typer av bolag, exv. finansiella bolag, rekryteringsbolag, transportbolag etc. En majoritet av den data som överförs är personuppgifter vilka har ett speciellt skyddsvärde och får som huvudregel inte fritt överföras utanför EU/EES.

För att få överföra personuppgifter till tredje land behöver företag använda en av de överföringsmekanismer som finns att tillgå i Direktivet. För att främja handeln mellan EU och USA har de båda partnerna slutit ett avtal för underlätta överföring av personuppgifter från EU till USA, detta avtal kallas Safe Harboravtalet. Ett amerikanskt företag, inom vissa branscher, har möjlighet att självcertifiera sig under Safe Harboravtalet.

Safe Harboravtalet har varit omdiskuterat sedan uppkomsten men efter det uppmärksammade avslöjandet om National Security Agency (NSA) övervakningsprogram ökade kritiken. Kritiken minskade inte efter att det också avslöjades att amerikanska bolag som var Safe Harborcertifierade varit inblandade. Kritiken resulterade i att EU Kommissionen ställde ut 13 rekommendationer till USA på åtgärder som USA ska vidta för att återbygga förtroendet för Safe Harboravtalet. Från EUs sida hotade man med att säga upp avtalet om inte åtgärder vidtog från USAs sida, senaste sommaren 2014. Kritik från olika håll inom EU krävde en omedelbar uppsägning av avtalet eller i alla fall ett stopp i användandet av avtalet tills man haft tid att utreda huruvida USA kan uppfylla sina åtaganden.

En uppsägning av Safe Harboravtalet skulle få stora konsekvenser på den transatlantiska handeln och företag skulle behöva vidta kostsamma åtgärder. Politiker och myndigheter i USA är av åsikten att Safe Harboravtalet är ett tillräckligt skydd och att det skulle få allt för stora konsekvenser om det sades upp. Medan man inom Europa, på ytan i alla fall, är beredda att säga upp avtalet oavsett till vilket pris. Samtidigt som dessa diskussioner pågår håller man inom EU på att ta fram ett helt nytt regelverk gällande skyddet av personuppgifter som eventuellt kan ändra spelplanen. (Less)
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author
Engdahl, Karl-Hugo
supervisor
organization
course
JURM01 20151
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
language
English
id
7447989
date added to LUP
2015-06-24 17:04:34
date last changed
2015-06-24 17:04:34
@misc{7447989,
  abstract     = {The technological development and above all the internet has had a major impact on international trade. The ability to transfer data within companies, but also between companies and countries is an essential part of this development and the ability to transfer data today is a central component of companies’ everyday activities. In practice, a company cannot do business, or engage in trade, without transferring data between companies in different countries. This condition applies not only in IT companies or technology companies, but in principle all types of companies, for example, financial companies, recruitment companies, transportation companies, etc. A majority of the transferred data is personal data which has a special protective value and are prohibited to be transferred outside the EU / EEA.

To transfer personal data to third countries, companies need to use one of the transmission mechanisms available in the Directive. In order to promote trade between the EU and U.S., these two parties have signed an agreement to facilitate the transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S., this agreement is called the Safe Harbor agreement. A U.S. company, in certain industries, is able to self-certify under the Safe Harbor agreement.

The Safe Harbor agreement has been debated since it was signed but after the high-profile revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, the criticism increased. The criticism did not decrease after that it was also revealed that U.S. companies, that were Safe Harbor Certified, had been involved. The criticism led to the European Commission set out 13 recommendations to the U.S. on measures that the U.S. should take in order to rebuild trust in the Safe Harbor agreement. From the EU’s side, they threatened to terminate the agreement if measures were not taken by the US, by summer 2014. Criticism from various sources in the EU called for an immediate termination of the agreement or at least a suspension of the agreement until it had had time to investigate whether the United States could meet its commitments.

Termination of the Safe Harbor agreement would have major consequences on the transatlantic trade and companies would have to take costly measures. Politicians and authorities in the U.S are of the opinion that the Safe Harbor agreement is a sufficient protection and that the impact would be too great if it was terminated. While in Europe, on the surface anyway, they are prepared to terminate the agreement no matter price. While these discussions are on going, the EU is working on a new regulatory framework for the protection of personal data that can possibly change the game plan},
  author       = {Engdahl, Karl-Hugo},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Will personal data have a Safe Harbor in the U.S.?},
  year         = {2015},
}