Intellectual Property Notice
The European Commission's Directive on Data Protection
The European Commission's Directive on Data Protection went into effect in October of 1998, and would prohibit the transfer of personal data to non-European Union nations that do not meet the European "adequacy" standard for privacy protection. While the United States and the European Union 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. In order to bridge these different privacy approaches and provide a streamlined means for U.S. organizations to comply with the Directive, the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission developed a "Safe Harbor" framework. This mechanism allows U.S. companies that "self-certify" compliance to Safe Harbor a means to move personal data of EU citizens to the United States for commercial purposes consistent with the provisions of the Safe Harbor privacy principles which are derived from the EU's data protection directive.