European Court of Justice Strikes Down Safe Harbor Agreement

Continuing the discussion from ECJ Judgement on "Safe Harbour" has big implications for global companies:

And here it is. Transfers of personal Data between the EU and the US are unlawful.


Dupe of

Actually, the earlier post related to a preliminary opinion by the Advocate General of Europe, which is not legally binding. It was more a warning shot across the bow.

The U.S. equivalent would be a formal statement from the Solicitor General of the United States. Not legally binding, but a powerful indication of the way in which the high court might rule.

This is the actual ruling. As of the entry into force of this judgement, all personal data flows between the EU and the U.S. are unlawful.

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Does it mean that Maidsafe would be illegal if it were to be used by an EU app vendor?

Quite possibly, though there would be an argument that because the data is encrypted, and therefore is in that sense “anonymized” that the encrypted data as such, cannot be used to identify anyone, and is therefore no longer personal data.

So just storing data, might be ok. But if the data, in its unencrypted form was ever accessed outside the EU by anyone other than the Data Subject, or with the Data Subject’s explicit consent, you would have problems.


Now if you’re an app vendor who stores personal data (and how the hell can you tell?), you can either try your luck and risk going to jail, or spend $10-$20K on lawyers to find out whether it’s safe for you to publish a SAFE app.

And while you may be able to store data, if you “allow” anyone other than the Data Subject to access it you’re going to be held responsible, which means you probably have to actually ID your SAFE users to comply.

All it all this looks like yet another EU success story.

Well, I suspect that by the time that the Safe Network launches, that the implications of this will be a lot more clear. Google, and Facebook, to say nothing of the credit card companies will make sure of that.

The real question to my mind is whether this is the beginning of an overall “Balkanization” of the internet.

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Well when you consider that this will REQUIRE, the big internet companies to pour hundreds of millions, maybe up billions into Europe’s internet infrastructure…

Not that I would attribute such base motives to the highest court of a Union dedicated to the European economy.

I for one welcome this trend (of Internet Balkanization). The worse it gets for the complying businesses, the better it will be for the crypto community.

Of course, how else can the centrally planned State achieve its goals for the development of domestic “Internet economy” but through mass coercion.
But it’s never easy. In fact it’s always harder than the statists think. I wouldn’t be surprised if these great plans thought up over $1,000 dinners turn out to cause drastic degradation of service (fewer services, many paid, etc.).
I’m loving it!


My fear with Internet Balkanization is that it would allow countries to put in place the possibility of cutting international communications traffic way way down. Right now, most of the world could not cut itself off from the global internet, it is either the global internet or no internet.

But if countries are able to force the big internet companies to build up discrete data centers in each country/region, then true Balkanization (of communications) becomes technically feasible.

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I don’t think it’s going to work like that. That’s what the central planners want.
Why would I sink $100 million in a new datacenter in Paris not knowing what the hell they’re going to come up with next (such as mandate that one has to stream or serve “51% of European content” or some similar statist nonsense)?
I’d rather invest in Peru or South Africa, at least those places haven’t sunk that low yet.

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Well, the question would be if all the governments start getting into the game.

Russia has already announced a “data relocalization” law.

If the EU and Russia do it, will China follow suit? If China does India will almost certainly, out of self-defense, as will Japan.

If Brazil follows suit, then you would have every major economy on Earth except for the US using this strategy.

Yes, then it’d get complicated and I sure as hell hope it does. MAID could benefit from the bureaucrats’ moves.


I agree. Besides the EU court is for now knocking arround US firms for things the need to be knocked around for. But this is the beginningvof protectionism and a roll back of globalism. Last time globalism reached a limitcit led to WW1 and WW2. Protectionism is a sign people are fed up with exploitationism through stuff like austerity.

I actually see the big tech companies loving this, as the ruling would finally bring high barriers to entry to the webapp industry. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Zuckerberg or Larry Page pushing this at a G20 summit.

That said, the world already has like the third of the commerce occurring in gray or black markets. Like Janitor pointed out, all this would do is require the innovators of the future to go crypto-agorist just to provide a good product, unless they’re willing to suck some serious VC ****. A good outcome for all involved either way, I’m sure.

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This is not an issue of protectionism but of individual rights.

The actual Safe Harbor acts as a conduit for the transfer of the personal data of EU citizens to the United States by companies required to surrender data to US agencies under the US intelligence collection programmes.

So the problem is the US totalitarian laws.

For one time the European Court of Justice does its job and defends the interests of its citizens.

  • Like you couldn’t store your data on some crappy EU version of Gmail / Facebook / Dropbox before.
  • The Court defends shit. You still have no rights as far as the State is concerned. Now the scope of legal and unmitigated violation is smaller - instead of the US and a local country government, your rights can be legally violated only by your local government. If the State or this joke of a court thought you actually have the right to privacy, the right wouldn’t be subject to if’s and but’s.

From the Guardian article:

Laywers in the UK suggested that, if confirmed, the ECJ decision would force every European company that stores data on American servers to review their contracts.

Whereas your EU clone of FB before stored data in the most competitive data center, now it’s going to store it in the EU.
One guaranteed result is higher prices for hosting and/or more expensive (if paid) or crappier service (if “free”) to end users. If you ever bought hosting service, you’d know.

By the way currently Amazon EC service is 15% more expensive in the EU (Frankfurt) than US (Oregon).

This and other EU rulings do in fact often protect citizen rights against their own governments. This is why our right wing government and the right wing dominated UK press attack the EU constantly over human rights and other “interference” with their rule.

The ruling is certainly important, and although those affected may well try to find ways around it, the basis is so solid I’m not sure they can.

The battle between individual and state, or really corporatism, continues… not just here, but on many fronts. At least SAFENetwork gives us another way to defend our rights. :smile:

By the way currently Amazon EC service is 15% more expensive in the EU (Frankfurt) than US (Oregon).

We have always paid a high premium, usually much higher than this, for US goods sold in Europe. This ruling will not change that either way.

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How? How are you protected from your local NSA? Did anyone get punished for the blanket collecting of metadata in the UK? How does the ruling protect your privacy from the UK government?

It will change for those EU companies who used to host in the US and will now have to host in the EU.

EDIT As expected, is hosted in the good ol’ US of A.
Are you guys going to relocate to protect your users? Or, why haven’t you located in the EU to protect your users? Does the cost difference matter or not?

The US data collection programmes is intended to maintain the existing structures of power and, especially, that the dollar remains the world reserve currency. This, and not the puppet of terrorism, is what means “National Security”.

And for this “National Security” the US do not hesitate to commit espionage, personal and industrial, pressures, blackmails, pay terrorists or create wars. The work necessary, for a country of just 320 million people, to maintain the empire. The same that other, such Spain or Great Britain, did previously.

And is truth that this will not prevent the espionage in the EU. Especially with the help of the British government that, to keep The City as a financial centre, will not hesitate to act as a good lapdog.

But, at least, make it a little more difficult. In my country there is a saying “be a whore and pay the bed”. Unfortunately the Europeans will remain the whore but pay us the bed.

By the way, the Amazon EC in Frankfurt or Dublin is a little more expensive that Oregon or Virginia but cheaper that California, Singapur, Tokio or, even, the AWS GovCloud.