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November 28, 2013

EU not to withdraw data sharing deals with US

Over 3,000 firms have signed up to the Safe Harbor deal.

By CBR Staff Writer

The European Union (EU) has confirmed plans not to withdraw from the ‘Safe Harbor’ deal on data protection, which allows the US firms to access European data, snubbing demands for a stronger position from EU following US snooping.

The latest move comes in the wake of reassessment of the trans-Atlantic data-sharing deal, the Wall Street Journal reported citing a draft commission document.

Safe Harbor protects the US firms that participate from being sued in Europe as per the EU’s data protection directive, while allows settling breaches within the US, as well offers the same safety for EU firms in the US.

European Commission (EC) said in the document that given the weaknesses identified, the current implementation of Safe Harbor cannot be maintained.

"However, its revocation would adversely affect the interests of member companies in the EU and in the U.S…. Safe Harbor should rather be strengthened," EU’s executive unit said.

Over 3,000 firms have signed up to the deal, while some self-certifying firms were unsuccessful in putting up with the rules.

"The [U.S.] non-compliance…places such companies at a competitive advantage in relation to European companies operating in the same markets," the commission said in the document.

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"EU citizens do not enjoy the same rights and procedural safeguards as Americans."

"EU citizens should be granted the same protection as their U.S. counterparts from surveillance programmes."

EU’s latest move would lessen worries for several US firms, which include Google, Apple, and Facebook that have signed up for the deal.

Earlier, the pact was considered not so safe by the EU, in the wake of revelations about surveillance by the US government by ex-National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

NSA revelations are also anticipated to cost American tech firms about $35bn in lost revenue by 2016.

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