Is your Safe Harbor certification really ‘safe’?

By Jim Halpert and Haris Khan

On 21 January, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced 12 proposed settlements with companies accused of falsely claiming that they complied with the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework.

These companies range from three National Football League teams to a debt collection firm. They handle various types of consumer data, including sensitive health and employment data.

The FTC alleged in its complaints that the 12 companies deceptively claimed that they held current US-EU Safe Harbor and/or US-Swiss Safe Harbor certifications through statements in their privacy policies and/or by displaying the Safe Harbor certification mark on their websites, even though the companies had let their certifications lapse…

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