Companies need answer to Safe Harbour worries, says minister

Swift conclusion on revised agreement needed

The move to strike down Safe Harbour has created worrying uncertainty for companies, the Conservative minister for intellectual property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, has said.

Responding to a Parliamentary question on the European Court of Justice’s judgement last month on the Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner case, Neville-Rolfe reiterated the government's disappointment at the verdict and urged Europe to find a speedy resolution.

Last month the court struck down the 15-year-old "Safe Harbour" pact, invalidating the sharing of data with the US on grounds it violated the privacy rights of Europeans by exposing them to allegedly indiscriminate surveillance by the US.

"There is an important principle here that companies must be able to transfer data to third-party countries with appropriate safeguards and we are concerned about the uncertainty this judgement creates," she said.

"The government urges the European Commission and US authorities to reach a swift conclusion on their negotiation of a revised agreement," she said.

Brussels has already warned companies to start adhering to the ruling, with enforcement against non-compliance to kick in by early 2016.

However, a number of Silicon Valley companies have desperately been trying to wriggle out of the ruling. ®

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