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Directive on Data Protection

A European Union (EU) directive used as the basis for data protection laws of all EU member nations that prohibits transfers of personal data to countries without "adequate" data protection. While the EU Commission has never officially declared that the United States does not provide "adequate" data protection, it was always clear that the patchwork of privacy laws in the United States would not fulfill the Commission's criteria for adequacy. As a result, the Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce began negotiations soon after the passage of the Directive to set up a program that would allow U.S. companies to overcome the prohibition and transfer personal information from EU member states to the United States. The result of those negotiations was the Safe Harbor program, which confers a limited finding of "adequacy" on U.S. member companies for the purposes of EU data protection law.


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