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For Immediate Release
Contact: Monica Hill, 202-482-3809

Monday, July, 31, 2000 202-482-3809

PRESS STATEMENT

European Commission Issues Safe Harbor Privacy Arrangement

Washington, D.C.--The Department of Commerce last week welcomed the issuance by the European Commission of its formal opinion that the Safe Harbor privacy arrangement provides "adequate" privacy protection for EU personal data. This decision by the Commission now paves the way for implementation of the safe harbor arrangement. The arrangement will enable U.S. organizations complying with the safe harbor framework to continue to receive personal data from Europe that they need for their business operations. The action taken by the Commission is the result of more than two years of discussion between the United States and the European Commission to find a way to bridge the differences between EU and U.S. approaches to privacy protection and ensure that trans Atlantic data flows are not interrupted.

Prior to the Commission's decision, the Department of Commerce issued on July 28 the final set of Safe Harbor Privacy Principles and related documents. These documents are posted on the Department of Commerce's website at trade.gov/ecom and are published in the Federal Register.

Due to EU Member State notification requirements, the safe harbor will first become operational in early November. In the interim, the Department of Commerce will be developing procedures for companies wishing to self certify to the safe harbor. We will provide information on this and other implementation issues in the coming months.

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