IATE term of the week: Safe Harbour Privacy Principles

October 30, 2015 12:56 pm

Safe Harbour Privacy Principles IATE

On 6 October, following an official complaint against Facebook by an Austrian citizen, Max Schrems, the Court of Justice of the European Union declared that the so-called Safe Harbour agreement is invalid, because it does not offer the adequate level of data protection which was expected.

Developed by the US Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission, the Safe Harbour privacy principles should in fact allow the convenient transfer of personal data from the EU to US companies. On a practical level, this means that transferring personal data from the EU to a US company that had implemented the principles would be almost “as easy as transferring the data to another EU member state”.

However, after a long debate which was held on 12 October to discuss the outcome of the ruling of the Court, it was confirmed that “the access enjoyed by the US intelligence services to the transferred data interferes with the right to respect for private life and the right to protection of personal data”. And consequently, on 16 October, a statement emphasizing the implications of the Schrems judgment was released. It stated that transfers relying on the Safe Harbour agreement are now unlawful, and that an appropriate solution has to be found between the EU and the US authorities by the end of January 2016.

The original document concerning the Safe Harbour privacy principles was issued by the US Department of Commerce on July 21, 2000. It was based on the European Union’s comprehensive privacy legislation (the Directive on Data Protection), which became effective on October 25, 1998 and requires that transfers of personal data take place only to non-EU countries that provide an adequate level of privacy protection. The main reason why these principles were issued was, that while the United States and the European Union share the same goal of enhancing privacy protection for their citizens, the United States is said to take its own approach to privacy – one based on “a mix of legislation, regulation, and self-regulation”.

In light of these recent debates, TermCoord decided to suggest Safe Harbour Privacy Principles as the IATE term of the week.

Safe Harbour Privacy Principles IATE

(You can find all the languages in which the term is already available here.)

Contribute to IATE! A terminologist for the respective language will revise your answer and decide whether to validate them. Given the implications of the process, a delay is to be expected.


  1. The National Law Review. 2015. Debate in the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee on the Schrems Ruling. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/debate-european-parliament-s-libe-committee-schrems-ruling. [Accessed 30 October 15].
  2. export.gov. 2015. SAFE HARBOR PRIVACY PRINCIPLES. [ONLINE] Available at: http://export.gov/safeharbor/eu/eg_main_018475.asp. [Accessed 30 October 15].

Written by Eva Barros Campelli

Communication Trainee

Italian journalist; trained at the London School of Journalism

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