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The Register: US-Europe privacy deal: agreeing to ignore it?

Mar 17, 2000, 14:26 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Graham Lea)

"The political and cultural differences between Europe and the USA are too great to make any effective protocol on data privacy realistic. This became clear this week when EU and US negotiators announced that after two years of talks, the US 'safe harbour' principles gave sufficient protection over private data on European citizens held in US computers."

"There was a political imperative to produce a fudge; transatlantic Internet commerce has been picking up speed, and mostly moving in an easterly direction of course."

"The obstacle that initiated the talks in the first place was the European Data Protection Directive 95/46 'on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data'. This requires that data can only be sent outside the EU to countries that have in place adequate data protection. The directive came into force in October 1998, and gives the EU the power to block the flow of personal data to the USA - or more exactly, outside the EU. While 'good-faith negotiations' were in progress, the EU agreed to a standstill in this provision, to stop any disruption of data flows across the Atlantic."

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