Get off of my cloud

Grazed from The Economist. Author: Editorial Staff.

EVEN before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck down the “safe-harbour” privacy pact between the European Union and America on October 6th, data-protection lawyers were in high demand. American clients asked if their firms’ data-flows across the Atlantic would become illegal—and if so, how to cope? The fears were justified. Though the ruling does not “break the internet”, as doom-mongers have it, businesses may have to find awkward and costly workarounds for data transfers, or shift to European data centres. More broadly, it marks a worrying escalation of a transatlantic row over privacy and data protection.

The safe-harbour pact, signed in 2000, was an attempt to bridge cultural and political differences regarding online privacy. The EU sees protection of personal data as a human right; America considers it mainly in terms of consumer protection, which leaves room for trade-offs. The pact allows firms to transfer data from the EU to America if they provide safeguards equivalent to those required by the EU’s data-protection directive (hence “safe harbour”)...

When it was negotiated, the internet was in its infancy and transatlantic data flows were small. The European Commission therefore accepted an agreement based on self-certification: firms could write a privacy policy and declare themselves compliant...

Read more from the source @ http://www.economist.com/news/international/21671982-european-court-ruling-presages-transatlantic-battle-over-data-protection-and