Data privacy and trans-Atlantic relationships have been protected by the "safe harbor" agreement since 2000. This joint decision made by the European Union and the United States government stated that U.S.-based businesses could send EU citizens' data back to American data centers as long as these companies adhered to EU data privacy regulations. The safe harbor agreement is a key component of conducting business overseas, but all that has changed.
"The Court of Justice of the EU decided that the safe harbor agreement is no longer valid. "
Sayonara safe harbor
According to Ars Technica, the Court of Justice of the EU - the most important court in Europe - decided that the safe harbor agreement is no longer valid. The case concerned Maximilian Schrems, a citizen of Austria, the High Court of Ireland and Facebook, as Schrems asserted that data sent back to the U.S. by Facebook was not harbored safely. The CJEU agreed that the safe harbor agreement system that is currently in place does not comply with the Data Protection Direction.
"In essence, if Facebook, Google et al. wish to continue sending Europeans' personal data over the Atlantic they will just have to guarantee an adequate level of protection in line with EU rules," said Monique Goyens, director general of the European Consumer Organization, according to The Guardian.
While there is a chance that the U.S. government could strike another deal and write a better data privacy agreement for sending data overseas, many organizations will be drastically impacted by the CJEU's decision. In fact, The Guardian asserted that business that are not giant conglomerates will see the most negative effects from a dissolved safe harbor agreement.
There are only two choices for organizations operating in the EU but headquartered in the U.S.: Build a data center in Europe or set up better data privacy protection measures. The former might be possible for Facebook, but the average business cannot afford such an expense, and the cloud just adds complications to the matter. This leaves the latter. U.S. companies that want to serve European communities must ensure data privacy and adhere to all EU data privacy regulations.
The CloudMask solution
The Guardian explained that encryption is the best solution to this EU data privacy conundrum. After all, by turning sensitive data into random alphanumerical characters, the sensitive aspect of that information essentially disappears.
This means that CloudMask is an incredibly valuable and useful tool in the battle to ensure data privacy for overseas citizens and those stateside. CloudMask encrypts sensitive data and provides users with the only encryption key, guaranteeing data privacy at all times.
With CloudMask, only your authorized parties can decrypt and see your data. Not hackers with your valid password, Not Cloud Providers, Not Government Agencies, and Not even CloudMask can see your protected data. Twenty-six government cybersecurity agencies around the world back these claims.
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