Sail in a Safe Harbor-The Legal Transfer of Data (1,348 words)
3. You're a multinational company that collects data in Europe, transfers it to the United States for processing, and then uses it to market to European consumers.
In this example, says Abrams, it makes good sense to enter into the Safe Harbor rather than use individual contracts, because you must comply with the law of each country in which you collect data.
The Safe Harbor Reality
While data continues to flow back and forth across the Atlantic, it has hit a few waves along the way.
Prescott reports he's had complaints from U.S. publishers and data processing companies that have "run into an abysmal level of ignorance on the part of the European business community about Safe Harbor." This has resulted in the reluctance of some European list owners to release data.
The confusion arises regarding who needs to be registered, with whom and where. For instance, if a U.S. company wants to rent the subscriber file of a U.K.-based publisher, it's the responsibility of the U.K. publisher to register with the U.K. data protection registrar, provide its subscribers with notice of its intent to rent their data and offer a choice to opt-out from receiving third-party marketing efforts. The U.S. company must provide adequate protection under the provisions of the Safe Harbor or by individual contract.
Many European list owners erroneously assume the U.S. company is obligated to register with the U.K. data controller. Not so. Such registration is not required, provided the U.S. company doesn't have a U.K.-based subsidiary.
In these instances, Prescott has sent an explanatory memo, which so far has resulted in data being released.
The reservations some U.S. marketers have had about the difficulty of certifying with the Safe Harbor also appear to have abated.
"The development of the Safe Harbor was considered by those in the privacy arena as a revolutionary event," says Prescott. "Since then, many have come to realize that compliance doesn't require the dramatic changes we'd anticipated."