Contact: Curt Cultice/Monica Hill, 202-482-3809
November 1, 2000
Under Secretary LaRussa
Announces Implementation of the Safe Harbor
Commerce website enables U.S. organizations to sign up online
The Commerce Department today took an important step towards ensuring
the continued growth of e-commerce trade with Europe. U.S. organizations
can now sign up to the U.S.-EU safe harbor privacy framework which
enables them to comply with EU privacy rules.
The new website
is www.export.gov/safeharbor. By committing to
seven basic principles, including notice, choice, access, and enforcement,
U.S. organizations can ensure uninterrupted flow of trans-Atlantic
"We must give
U.S. businesses all the tools they need to expand trans-Atlantic
trade in today's global economy," said Commerce Under Secretary
Robert S. LaRussa. "Safe harbor provides a simpler and less expensive
means of complying with the EU Privacy Directive."
to sign up online streamlines the process and should be particularly
beneficial to small and medium-sized enterprises.
The safe harbor
framework, which became officially effective today, was developed
by the Department of Commerce, in consultation with the European
Commission, industry and non-governmental organizations to provide
U.S. organizations with a practical means of satisfying the "adequacy"
requirement under the European Directive on Data Protection. The
safe harbor was officially recognized by the EU this past summer
as a basis of protecting European citizens' privacy. For U.S. companies,
it offers a way to avoid experiencing interruptions in their business
dealings with the EU or facing prosecution by European authorities
under European privacy laws.
U.S. companies can access the web site to learn about the safe harbor
framework read the actual agreement, evaluate their needs, and sign
in turn, can ensure that they are sending information to a U.S.
organization participating in the safe harbor by viewing the online
list of safe harbor organizations posted on the website. The list
will contain the names of all U.S. companies that have committed
to the safe harbor framework. This list will be regularly updated,
so that it is clear who is assured of safe harbor benefits.
Department will also hold a series of seminars that will help companies
understand what is required to join Safe harbor, the benefits of
joining, and examples of how companies have successfully used the
safe harbor. Information on the seminars will be forthcoming and
will posted on the website.