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Microsoft declares wholehearted support for Privacy Shield

Mon 11 Apr 2016

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Microsoft declared its support for the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield today. Privacy Shield, a proposed legislation to govern data transmission between the EU and U.S., has been the subject of much debate. While acknowledging that more work will need to be done after it is adopted, Microsoft has thrown its support behind Privacy Shield, stating in the blog post that after careful and detailed review, it “believes wholeheartedly that it represents an effective framework and should be approved.”

Not only does it urge the quick acceptance of Privacy Shield in its proposed form, its has pledged to sign up for it, to adhere to its current and future guidelines, and to respond to Microsoft user complaints under Privacy Shield within 45 days. Last week, leaked documents suggested that Privacy Shield was inadequate in its current form, and would not be ratified by the German Article 29 Working Party. main concern was that the legislation does not provide ‘essentially equivalent’ protection for the EU and the U.S. Digital rights organizations in the EU and in the U.S. have requested that Privacy Shield be sent back to negotiators and a new form be presented for approval. Microsoft, however, supports the Privacy Shield in its current form, and believes that further adjustments should be made after the initial adoption.

Microsoft has stated commitment to user privacy and to transparency of government requests for user data. Microsoft was one of the U.S. technology companies that successfully contested the government’s refusal to allow transparency in sharing governmental requests for user information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). It also challenged the U.S. government’s attempt to access user information from the Microsoft Irish data center. Its track record of user privacy protection, combined with 15 years of compliance with Safe Harbor, is the foundation it has used to solidify its support of the Privacy Shield.

Safe Harbor, the previous agreement that governed data transmission between the United States and the European Union, was overturned in October 2015. Since then, pressure has been high to replace it with a useful, acceptable legislation to manage data transmission, user privacy, and settlement of disputes. While many digital rights organizations are still in opposition to adoption of Privacy Shield in its current form, Microsoft stated, “the Privacy Shield framework is an important step in enhancing trust in the global digital economy, and we hope that it will be approved as negotiated.”


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