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Data Privacy

E.U.-U.S. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Framework Safe Harbor for Privacy

The European Commission and Switzerland's Directive on Data Protection would prohibit the transfer of personal data to non-European Union nations that do not meet the European or Swiss "adequacy" standard for privacy protection. While the United States, the European Union and Switzerland share the goal of enhancing privacy protection for their citizens, the United States takes a different approach to privacy from that taken by the European Union and Switzerland. The United States uses a sectoral approach that relies on a mix of legislation, regulation, and self-regulation. The European Union and Switzerland, however, rely on comprehensive legislation that, for example, requires creation of government data protection agencies, registration of databases with those agencies, and in some instances prior approval before personal data processing may begin. As a result of these different privacy approaches, these Directives could have significantly hampered the ability of U.S. companies to engage in many trans-Atlantic transactions.

In order to bridge these different privacy approaches and provide a streamlined means for U.S. organizations to comply with these Directives, the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission and Switzerland developed a "safe harbor" framework. The safe harbor approved by the EU and Switzerland is an important way for U.S. companies to avoid experiencing interruptions in their business dealings with the EU and Switzerland or facing prosecution by European or Swiss authorities under privacy laws. Certifying to the safe harbor will assure that EU organizations and Switzerland know that your company provides adequate privacy protection, as defined by these Directives.

For more information on the Safe Harbor, please see

Complaints and Dispute Resolution

Contact Office
13320 Ballantyne Corporate Place
Charlotte, North Carolina 28277

Contact Name
Terra Smith, Chief Data Privacy Officer
Phone: (704) 752-7380