US no longer ‘Safe Harbour’ for European’s data

We have always made the most of the fact we have our own hosting centre in Tamworth, which is right in the middle of England, just north-east of Birmingham for those who struggle to find it on a map.

The location of our hosting centre and all of the data our clients store on the servers within it, recently took on added importance, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice. The Luxembourg-based court declared invalid, the EU-US ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement, which allowed American organisations to legally transfer data on Europeans from Europe to the US, with protection for this data from snooping by US authorities.

Following this game-changing ruling, the data regulators within each affected country, including the UK, might challenge this transfer of data. US companies like Facebook and Google could have to adapt their service to cope with different regulatory environments for each European country, some of whom may even demand the data on their citizens be stored within their own countries.

This was a move recently introduced by the Russian Government, which introduced new legislation that demanded data on Russian citizens be stored within Russia. Good news for Russian hosting companies, but more likely to ban economic-driven gesture than any desire to increase personal privacy for Russian citizens

The European Commission and its US counterparts are now under pressure to devise a new system giving those affected by the ruling, three months to come up with something new – given the pace of change with anything related to security and technology this is extremely ambitious and undoubtedly doomed to miss the deadline.

The problem for many UK-based businesses will be the final destination of their data, particularly those using Cloud solutions for business processes that include personal data of European citizens – like payroll data, legal contracts, CRM systems, email systems etc.

It is expected the ruling will lead to many of the world’s biggest corporations, which are based in the US, having to not only change the way they do things, but to relocate some of their operations into Europe. But where, given the potential to have to cope with dozens of different privacy regulations, set by each country separately?

There is also concern amongst the thousands of companies based in Europe that use the safe harbour rules to transfer data to the US, which poses a simple question; do UK-based businesses using Cloud services know if their data is being hosted in the US?

Any data making this journey is now likely to be deemed as unsafe under EU data protection legislation, putting at risk of action, those organisations that fail to take this into consideration when handling the private data of their customers. Not a time for a ‘head-in-the-sand’ approach.

So it is again fortunate that Quiss Technology, a UK-registered business owns and operates the building in which the hosting centre sits, along with all the relevant infrastructure.

This provides added peace of mind for any organisation, safe in the knowledge their data and that of their customers, never leaves the UK, or more accurately Tamworth, which is subject to UK and EU data protection laws.

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