October 26, 2015
Partner Alysa Z. Hutnik was quoted in the Financial Times’ Agenda article “U.S. Companies Face Countdown to Adhere to EU Data Rules.” The article covers a recent memo announcing that U.S. companies have three months to make privacy fixes before European regulators begin enforcing local rules on the transfer of data on European citizens between the European Union (EU) and the U.S. The memo follows the termination of the 15-year-old Safe Harbor data transfer regime used by 4,500 companies. In the short term, boards are being urged to make sure that their lawyers have negotiated appropriate workarounds on data transfers to comply with the patchwork of data privacy laws found throughout the EU. The U.S. and EU have been working on an updated version of Safe Harbor, an international agreement allowing U.S. companies to send data on European customers and employees overseas, but it is expected to be more stringent than the recently invalidated agreement. Ms. Hutnik suggests that, “If there is a silver lining, this has prompted many robust discussions [about] what kind of personal information [companies] have, what are those flows and [whether they are] relevant to the business.” She also said boards should be asking, “How is data part of our assets, and how does the ability to move it where and how we want affect the bottom line of the business?”
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