What is Safe Harbor?
In a nutshell, the Safe Harbor program enables certified American companies to safely handle personal and potentially sensitive data from European customers and partners. The European Union imposes strong regulation on the transfer of personal data (under the Data Protection Directive) from European firms to companies in areas outside of the European Economic Area. However, if there is a guarantee that the outside company will provide adequate privacy protection, European firms will then be able to send their data. For companies in the U.S., this "guarantee" is formalized in the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program in which companies formally agree to meet EU privacy protection standards. Similarly, the United States and Switzerland also provide a Safe Harbor framework for American companies who wish to comply with Swiss data protection laws. Those who wish to apply to U.S. Swiss Safe Harbor in addition to the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor can do so without any extra fee.
Why Should you Consider the Program?
If you are a U.S. company that will deal with handling the data of a European business partner or customer, a Safe Harbor certification is necessary. Typically, when doing business with a European firm, you will be asked about your Safe Harbor compliance.
Steps to Comply With the Program
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