Last week we blogged about the game-changing ECJ Advocate General recommendation that the court found the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program invalid. It was anticipated that the court would not issue judgment for several weeks, but the Court of Justice calendar lists the case for decision on 6 October.
The U.S. mission to the European Union has also issued a statement setting out how it believes the Advocate General’s recommendation is wrong, and that the United States and the EU are working on strengthening the framework in terms with the Umbrella Agreement.
The U.S. statement discusses the important privacy and trade benefits enjoyed by U.S. and EU citizens and businesses, and stresses that the United States will continue to work with the EU to improve Safe Harbor.
Jan Philipp Albrecht, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the EU DP draft Regulation, issued a statement in support of the Advocate General’s opinion, stating that it “confirms the position of the European Parliament, which has already called for Safe Harbor to be suspended. It is unacceptable that the European Commission has ignored this demand for a year and a half. It is now time for the Commission to finally suspend Safe Harbor.”
The suspension of Safe Harbor is likely to cause chaos, not just for those U.S. companies that are certified to the program, but also to those companies that use vendors and suppliers that are safe-harbor certified. It will be impossible for organisations to put in place another form of adequate protection, such as the model clauses or binding corporate rules, in the space of a week, should the court agree with the Advocate General.