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Decision by EU Legal Advisor Signals End of "Safe Harbor"

An opinion by the top advisor for Court of Justice of the European Union indicates that the "Safe Harbor" arrangement, which permits the transfer of personal data to the US without legal protection, will come to an end. Under Safe Harbor, US companies self-certify compliance with EU data protection law. But the Advocate General has found the arrangement fails to protect privacy and should be declared invalid. Max Schrems, who initiated the case in Ireland, stated "This finding, if confirmed by the court, would be a major step in limiting the legal options for US authorities to conduct mass surveillance on data held by EU companies." The European Digital Rights Initiative also supported the decision. EPIC has recommended that the US update the Privacy Act to protect EU citizens and ratify the international convention for privacy protection.

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