Tag Archives: data; safe harbour agreement

The Widening Atlantic

widening AtlanticThe Atlantic Ocean is widening at the rate of around 1 inch (~2.5 cm) per year. But sometimes it suddenly seems to accelerate! One of the issues that bring about this sense of a widening gap between Europe and the USA is the thorny issue of data protection. Some services that we use for education purposes in the UK store data in the USA, although increasingly the bigger companies like Survey Monkey use European data centres. Below is an extract from Survey Monkey’s privacy web page as an example.

“We have many customers in countries throughout the EU, including France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. SurveyMonkey generally provides its survey services to customers located outside of the U.S. from our subsidiary in Ireland. This subsidiary’s privacy practices are regulated by the Ireland data protection authority and also by EU data protection requirements. As set out in our Privacy Policy, you have consented to your personal data being transferred out of the EU and onto servers located in the United States. These servers are maintained by our U.S. parent company. To facilitate our customers’ compliance with European personal data export requirements, we make available to our customers who need it, a Data Processing Agreement that incorporates the European Commission’s Standard Contractual Clauses (commonly known as the model clauses). The model clauses help SurveyMonkey customers in Europe to comply with their legal obligations after the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework was invalidated by the European Court of Justice on 6 October 2015.”

But there’s no doubt that understanding if a particular web service based in the USA complies with EU data security requirements can be a nightmare. Hopefully a new Safe Harbour agreement, “Safe Harbour 2.0” is nearing agreement, despite the EUCJ ruling about the current Agreement. This article from Reuters reports that the U.S. Secretary of Commerce feels that an new agreement is in reach. Here’s hoping we can all be adequately protected but still be able to innovate in our use of learning technologies. No pressure then!