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Safe Harbor? Check if it’s certified

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Some companies’ privacy policies say they participate in the “U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework.” But that doesn’t mean they have an accident-free shipyard. It has to do with U.S. companies reassuring European residents about the privacy and security of their personal information.

As we explained a few weeks ago, U.S. companies that agree to comply with the terms of the Safe Harbor Framework can collect personal information from European residents. To join the Safe Harbor, a company must certify annually that it will comply with certain privacy principles consistent with European law. The Department of Commerce lists companies that have made that commitment. That lets European residents check if a U.S. business currently commits to complying with the Safe Harbor Framework.

The FTC has sued many companies for misrepresenting their participation in the Safe Harbor Framework. Today, the FTC announced two new settlements. American International Mailing, Inc. and TES Franchising, LLC claimed they were members of the Framework when, in reality, their certification with the Department of Commerce had expired. These settlements prohibit the companies from misrepresenting their participation in any information privacy or security program. Because TES also misstated how it would handle complaints from European residents, it also is barred from misrepresenting its participation in a dispute resolution program.

You can check with the Department of Commerce to verify a company’s participation in the Safe Harbor Framework. You also can read a company’s privacy policy to see how it claims to comply with the terms of the Safe Harbor and handle complaints. Please let us know if you have a complaint related to the Safe Harbor Framework.

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Comments

I have had problems with my privacy and identity

i also have had problems with my privacy and identity

I also have problems with my privacy and identity, not to mention my reputation and the safety of my family! Though I have spoken to many, to date I have not received assistance or guidance from any agency.

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