21st January 2016

U.S. Chamber of Commerce/BUSINESSEUROPE Letter to Leaders regarding Transatlantic data flows, Safe Harbor

Dear Leaders:
Cross-border data flows are essential to innovation, job creation, and economic growth in both Europe and the United States. As representatives of companies in a wide variety of sectors that do business in Europe, the United States, and around the world, we are writing to convey the critical importance of your efforts to come to a comprehensive and sustainable transatlantic agreement concerning data transfers.

Our member companies strongly support personal privacy, data protection, and security, and they are committed to fulfilling their obligations under both European and U.S. law. Yet recent developments in the EU have created significant uncertainty for the ability of individuals and enterprises to transfer data across borders in order to operate.

The recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor agreement can no longer provide thousands of firms assurance that they conform to the EU’s legal requirements for protecting personal data has raised enormous uncertainty that seriously undermines the ability of U.S. and EU companies and individuals to conduct business across the Atlantic. We commend the ongoing efforts of the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce to negotiate a revised Safe Harbor agreement by the January 31, 2016, deadline set out by Member State Data Protection Authorities. We are hopeful that the two sides will succeed in concluding a modified framework by that time. This issue must be resolved immediately or the consequences could be enormous for the thousands of businesses and millions of users impacted.

However, the scope of the CJEU decision and subsequent public interpretations by a number of Data Protection Authorities is such that not just Safe Harbor, but also all other data transfer mechanisms such as model contract clauses and binding corporate rules (which impact nearly all financial transactions between the two largest economies of the world), may be in jeopardy.


Read full version of the attached letter.


Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic