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U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework Documents

The documents listed and published below constitute the "safe harbor" privacy framework that the U.S. Department of Commerce has negotiated with the European Commission.

The U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework is set forth in a set of 7 privacy principles, 15 frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs), the European Commission's adequacy decision, the exchange of letters between the Department and the European Commission, and letters from the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Transportation on their enforcement powers. The U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework includes the final documents issued by the United States and published in the Federal Register on July 24, 2000 and September 19, 2000, and by the European Commission on July 28, 2000.

I. U.S. DOCUMENTS - July 2000

A. Cover Letter from Acting Under Secretary for International Trade Administration Robert S. LaRussa

B. U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Privacy Principles

C. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Sensitive Data

2. Journalistic Exceptions

3. Secondary Liability

4. Investment Banking and Audits

5. The Role of the Data Protection Authorities

6. Self-Certification

7. Verification

8. Access

9. Human Resources

10. Article 17 Contracts

11. Dispute Resolution and Enforcement

12. Choice - Timing of Opt-out

13. Travel Information

14. Pharmaceutical and Medical Products

15. Public Record and Publicly Available Information

D. Letter from the U.S. Department of Commerce to the European Commission transmitting the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles and FAQs, etc.

E. U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Enforcement Overview

F. Department of Commerce Memorandum on Damages for Breaches of Privacy, Legal Authorizations and Mergers and Takeovers in U.S. Law

G. Letter from the Federal Trade Commission concerning its jurisdiction over consumer privacy issues

H. Letter from the Department of Transportation concerning its authority in protecting the privacy of consumers with respect to information provided to airlines


A. Letter from the European Commission transmitting the Commission's Safe Harbor adequacy finding

B. European Commission's decision C(2000) 2441 finding Safe Harbor provides adequate protection

C. Text on Non-Discrimination adopted by the Article 31 Committee on 31 May 2000

D. Text on Non-Discrimination adopted by the Article 29 Working Party on 3 February 2000


A. EEA Joint Committee Decision No. 108/2000 adopting the European Commission's Safe Harbor adequacy finding


Standard Contractual Clauses

On January 19, 2001, the European Commission released its draft of standard contractual clauses (model contract provisions) to be used by U.S. organizations as an alternative to compliance with the EU Directive on Data Protection.

On June 15, 2001 the European Commission approved its draft of the standard contractual clauses.

On February 5, 2010 the European Commission adopted a decision updating the standard contractual clauses.



Documents and public comments provided through the duration of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework negotiations can be accessed in our Historic Documents section.