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Peter Swire, the Huang Professor of Law and Ethics.
Peter Swire, the Huang Professor of Law and Ethics.

Peter Swire talks European Court strike down of US-EU privacy agreement

This week the European Court of Justice struck down the “Safe Harbor” agreement between the U.S. and the European Union. Professor Swire says decision will disrupt the way that many major online companies are able to offer unified services to consumers.

Since 2000, the Safe Harbor had been a major mechanism that allowed global companies to transfer information about users from Europe, where there are relatively strict privacy laws, to the United States.  Until the new decision, companies that promised to follow the Safe Harbor principles had a lawful basis for moving the data between the E.U. and the U.S.

The court struck down the Safe Harbor for basically two reasons.  The first reason is about allocation of authority under E.U. law. The second reason was concern about what the Court called “mass and indiscriminate” surveillance by the U.S. government, as revealed by Edward Snowden.

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