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News & Current Events

Safe Harbor-Related Seminars, Roundtables, and Webinars

Do you have questions about how domestic and international privacy policy developments impact your company? Join us to have your questions answered by the experts!

Both here and abroad, data privacy issues are taking on even greater significance, and countries around the world are revising or creating laws and regulations related to privacy. These changes could have an impact on your company and how it complies with privacy restrictions domestically and overseas.

New York, NY International Data Privacy Panel Presentation:

Hunton & Williams LLP will host privacy experts from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) who will brief participants on important international data privacy developments, including on: the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group’s work to implement the Cross-Border Privacy Rules System; the APEC-European Union joint working team on Interoperability; the EU’s proposed General Data Protection Regulation; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations; and the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks.  Joshua Harris, Vice Chair of the APEC Data Privacy Subgroup and Chair of the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules Joint Oversight Panel, will update the group on the latest developments in APEC privacy issues. Caitlin Fennessy, ITA’s leading expert on the EU’s proposed Data Protection Regulation and a member of the Safe Harbor Team, will talk about the latest privacy developments in the EU and their impact on U.S. companies. Lisa Sotto, partner at Hunton & Williams LLP, will moderate the panel.

  • Date: Monday, September 30, 2013
  • Time: 5:30 – 7:00pm EST
  • Location: Hunton & Williams LLP, 200 Park Avenue, 52nd Floor, New York, NY 10166-0091
  • Click here to register
  • For additional information, contact Vonny Chiu at

Bellevue, WA Safe Harbor and White House Privacy Blueprint Seminar:

Microsoft will host privacy experts from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) who will brief participants on important international and domestic data privacy developments, and provide an overview of the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Programs and the White House Privacy Blueprint released in February 2012. Christopher Hoff, Co-Administrator of the U.S.-EU & U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Programs, and Krysten Jenci, Director of Electronic Commerce, will be the featured speakers from the ITA. Richard McKewen, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), will speak about FTC enforcement.

  • Date: Thursday, October 3, 2013
  • Time: 3:00 – 5:00pm PST
  • Location: Microsoft, 700 Bellevue Way NE, 15th Floor Lincoln Square, Bellevue, WA 98004
  • RSVP here. RSVP is required by Wednesday, October 2, 2013, as seating is limited. Guests and nonmembers are welcome to attend this IAPP KnowledgeNet meeting as space allows, but should register through the above link and will be required to create an account and log in prior to registering.

Safe Harbor Website Developments

Overview of Safe Harbor Review Process Posted May 2013: A document, which we have prepared clarifying the various steps taken and criteria assessed during the review of first time Safe Harbor self-certification submissions, as well as Safe Harbor recertification submissions, is available via the link provided herein. This document is meant to provide a useful summary of information provided elsewhere on the Safe Harbor website.

Clarifications Regarding the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework and Cloud Computing Posted April 2013: A document, which we have prepared clarifying various aspects of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework, and its applicability to the cloud computing sector, is available via the link provided herein.  This document is meant to provide prospective or existing participants in the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program with a resource that they can refer to and refer others to when concerns are raised about the interplay between the program and cloud computing.

Summary of FTC Enforcement Posted August 2012: A summary, which we prepared in early August 2012, of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement of Safe Harbor commitments is available via the link provided herein. Please note that the FTC updated the Safe Harbor material on its own website in late 2012 to include detailed information regarding such enforcement.

New Survey Feature Launched in June 2012:  Organizations participating in the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor programs will be invited to complete a new survey to help ITA’s Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce better evaluate the programs and how they support U.S. exports.  The survey consists of five short questions and should only take a few minutes to complete.  Those organizations self-certifying for the first time or recertifying on-line will be prompted to complete the survey prior to arriving at the payment page.  We hope that organizations participating in one or both of the Safe Harbor programs will take this important opportunity to communicate directly with ITA regarding the programs to help us better serve the Safe Harbor community.

New Safe Harbor List Search Function Launched in June 2012:  In an effort to further enhance the functionality of the Safe Harbor website (, ITA’s Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce launched a new search function making the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Lists searchable by organization certification status (i.e. “Current” or “Not Current”).  We hope that this enhancement will make the Safe Harbor Lists and the Safe Harbor website even more useful to all Safe Harbor stakeholders.

U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Cooperation

U.S. Commerce General Counsel Cameron Kerry Editorial Avoiding a Data Divide Between the U.S. and the EU

November 22, 2012, European Voice, Brussels, Belgium

General Counsel Kerry writes, “In the United States, our hope is that a global framework for national privacy policies will emerge that protects consumers, encourages innovation, and supports trade and economic growth. Both the US and the EU must take care to preserve the free flow of data that supports one of the most significant trade relationships in the world.”  The editorial cites the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework as a flexible mechanism that enables the kind of international privacy policy interoperability called for in President Obama’s comprehensive privacy blueprint.  The editorial highlights the benefits of the Framework to businesses, consumers, and transatlantic trade and notes that “the value of this mechanism cannot be overstated.” 

  • The full text of the editorial is available via the link provided above.

U.S.-EU Joint Statement on Privacy from EU Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding and U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson

March 19, 2012, Washington, DC

“In line with the objectives of increasing trade and regulatory cooperation outlined by our leaders at the U.S.-EU Summit, the United States and the European Union reaffirm their respective commitments to the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework. This Framework, which has been in place since 2000, is a useful starting point for further interoperability. Since its inception, over 3,000 companies have self-certified to the Framework to demonstrate their commitment to privacy protection and to facilitate transatlantic trade. The European Commission and the Department of Commerce look forward to continued close U.S.-EU collaboration to ensure the continued operation and progressive updates to this Framework. As the EU and the United States continue to work on significant revisions to their respective privacy frameworks over the next several years, the two sides will endeavor to find mechanisms that will foster the free flow of data across the Atlantic. Both parties are committed to work towards solutions based on non-discrimination and mutual recognition when it comes to personal data protection issues which could serve as frameworks for global interoperability that can promote innovation, the free flow of goods and services, and privacy protection around the world. The EU and the United States remain dedicated to the operation of the Safe Harbor Framework-as well as to our continued cooperation with the Commission to address issues as they arise-as a means to allow companies to transfer data from the EU to the United States, and as a tool to promote transatlantic trade and economic growth.”  

  • The full text of the joint statement is available via the link provided above.

Privacy and Protection of Personal Data Conference

March 19, 2012, Washington, DC

This European Commission hosted conference covered transatlantic privacy issues and focused on current policy and legislative initiatives in the European Union and the United States.  The conference also included a discussion of the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework. 

  • Additional information regarding the conference is available via the link provided above.