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Privacy Shield Frameworks

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) worked closely with the European Commission and Swiss Government to create the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks to provide a mechanism to comply with EU and Swiss data protection requirements for transferring personal data from the European Union (EU) to the United States and from Switzerland to the United States.

On July 12, 2016 the European Commission announced the approval of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, which replaces the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework, as a valid mechanism to comply with EU data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the EU to the United States. Self-certifications to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework were first accepted on August 1, 2017. And, on January 12, 2017 the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework was announced by the DOC and the Swiss government to provide organizations with a mechanism to comply with Swiss data protection requirements when transferring personal data from Switzerland to the United States. Starting April 12, 2017, organizations can self-certify to the Swiss – U.S. Privacy Shield Framework.

The Privacy Shield Frameworks are administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce and enable U.S.-based organizations to self-certify to the Frameworks in order to benefit from recognition of the use of valid data transfer mechanisms. This is based on the fact that the Frameworks themselves ensure an adequate level of protection for the personal data transferred to self-certified U.S.-based organizations.

To join the Privacy Shield frameworks administered by the DOC, a U.S.-based organization will be required to self-certify to the DOC and publicly commit to adhere to the Frameworks’ requirements. While joining either of these DOC-administered programs is voluntary, once an eligible organization makes the public commitment to comply with the Frameworks’ requirements, the commitment will become enforceable under U.S. law.

More information may be found on the DOC’s Privacy Shield website: www.privacyshield.gov.