Home > Data Protection Act, News > FTC Takes Action for False Claims of Safe Harbor Status

FTC Takes Action for False Claims of Safe Harbor Status


Special Caution:
In preparing the following post we did some cursory research on screening companies listed on the U.S. Department of Commerce Safe Harbor List and found at least 15 companies “Not Current” on their certification status. If such companies still provide international service we would highly recommend updating the company’s certification with the Dept. of Commerce as soon as possible.

The Story

Late September it was reported that an online retailer was recently ordered from making misrepresentations that it is in voluntary compliance with the U.S. Safe Harbor Framework. The EU Data Protection Directives require EU member countries to implement legislation that prohibits the transfer of personal data outside the EU except to countries that the EU had found to have adequate laws requiring security and are equivalent to the EU’s privacy provisions. Defendants represented that they self-certified to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce that they complied with the Safe Harbor when, in  fact, the defendants never self-certified. The FTC’s consent judgment indicated that the representation was false and misleading and constituted a deceptive act or practice in violation of Section
5 of the FTC Act.

Recommendation to Screening Companies: Be sure if your organization claims to be Safe Harbor self-certified than be certain that the organization has in fact filed the proper self-certification registration with the U.S. Department of Commerce. Additionally, ensure the organization stays up to date with its annual re-certification requirements. Re-certificate is not automatic.

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Categories: Data Protection Act, News
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