European Court of Justice Strikes Down Data Transfer Agreement Between United States and European Union
On October 6, 2015, Europe’s highest court struck down the international agreement that had allowed companies to move digital information between the United States and the European Union for the past 15 years (the “U.S.-EU Safe Harbor” or the “Framework”). The European Court of Justice held that, by allowing U.S. law enforcement officials unfettered access to the data of EU citizens, the Framework failed to adequately protect the privacy rights of those citizens. The ruling came shortly after an advisor to the European Court of Justice commented publicly that the Framework should be discarded due to “mass, indiscriminate surveillance” by the United States. The October 6 ruling, which cannot be appealed and went into effect immediately, affects all companies with offices, employees or business relationships in Europe.