Data Privacy: 5 Lessons Learned from Safe Harbor's Demise

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Keep Up on – and Anticipate – Legislation

The invalidation of the Safe Harbor agreement is a stark reminder of how crucial it is for business leaders to keep up with legislation at home, and internationally. By staying informed on legislative developments, organizations can avoid the costly mistake of being caught unprepared. No company operates in a bubble.

The key to applying this lesson is simple: Read the news and ask questions. Identify the top 10 publications that track news of relevance to your industry, and make a habit of monitoring for developments related to legislation that currently impacts or could potentially impact your business' day-to-day operations. For example, does the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) stand to upend your customers' trust of your organization? Include in your daily news scan searches for relevant legislation, regulatory agencies, or congressional committees so that you can be an active participant in the debate, not just an affected party. Setting up a Google alert with key search terms is a great way to stay on top of the news that matters most to your business.

In October, the European Union's highest court struck down the "Safe Harbor" Privacy Principles, a provision that allowed for the sharing of European personal data between the EU and U.S. The verdict is meant to preserve EU citizens' inherent right to privacy given the reality of U.S. national security laws, specifically The Patriot Act, which provide the NSA nearly unilateral access to data managed by U.S. companies.

While this may be a win for privacy advocates, it has left almost 5,000 companies with no clear solution for legally transferring data between Europe and the U.S. Temporary workarounds such as the use of Model Clauses are inefficient, and are currently operating in a legal grey area until regulators take a firmer stance on acceptable practices. In this slideshow, Accellion outlines the top five lessons businesses need to learn from Safe Harbor, as well as how they can apply them to their business strategy.


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