An important part of commerce is collecting personal data of consumers for a variety of reasons. To protect consumers, the United States has certain laws in place that regulate what can and cannot be done with data gathered. In international commerce between the U.S. and Europe, such data collection can be complicated because the laws of the European Union more strictly regulate data collection that the laws in the U.S. Therefore, the government bodies set out to find a solution that would allow U.S. companies to gather information from European consumers while still ensuring the full rights of those consumers were protected.
The European Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce finalized an agreement in July of 2016 called the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield that would facilitate the safe and lawful international transfer of personal data for commercial purposes across the Atlantic Ocean. The International Trade Administration (ITA) will administer the Privacy Shield program.
How the Privacy Shield Works
The Privacy Shield does not automatically affect every U.S. company that operates internationally. Instead, U.S. company owners who wish to collect personal data from EU countries can elect to join the Privacy Shield Framework. This includes providing self-certification to the Department of Commerce and a public commitment that your company is willing and able to comply with all of the data protection regulations under the Privacy Shield. One you elect to join the Framework, the Department of Commerce can enforce Privacy Shield regulations as U.S. law.
Whether to join the Privacy Shield Framework to collect consumer data from the EU is a completely voluntary decision for owners of each company. If your company engages in international consumer business, you may want to consider joining the Privacy Shield Framework. However, the regulations under the privacy Shield are complex and numerous, so you want to ensure that your company will be in full compliance with all restrictions and requirements before you try to join. If you violate the Privacy Shield – whether intentionally or not – your company can face significant liability.
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Any company that wants to operate on an international basis should seek the guidance of an experienced New Jersey Commercial Transaction Attorney who is thoroughly familiar with international commercial law. To ensure you are in compliance with all relevant laws or for any other commercial law needs, please call the Maduabum Law Firm, LLC for assistance today.