The invalidation of Safe Harbor: no impact on Contactlab

ContactLab wishes to reassure its clients about its customer engagement approach, which is privacy compliant by definition.


On the 6th October 2015 the European Court of Justice invalidated Safe Harbor, the agreement that enables data from Europe to be transferred to countries, particularly the USA, whose regulations on data protection are inadequate or fail to conform to European standards, via a framework of self-regulation (i.e., the Safe Harbor), in which companies self-certify their procedures such that they respect European levels of privacy. The court declared the principles of Safe Harbor invalid on the basis that data transfers would not receive an equivalent level of protection to that which is guaranteed within European Union countries.

From now on companies that transfer data to countries outside the EU (including branches of multinationals) for processing will be obliged to ask their clients to sign contracts based on the “model clause” to comply with the authorities of the various European countries in which they operate. Procedures have therefore become more complex and onerous as each document must be validated and signed by the multinational offering the service and the client using it.

The decision has caught American multinationals operating in Europe off-guard: from one day to the next they no longer have the benefit of a regulatory simplification enabling them to transfer their clients’ data to the USA where their servers are often based. To date, the invalidation of Safe Harbor has had no retroactive effect, but the decision throws companies into a situation of uncertainty and it is unclear whether or not action will be taken on data previously transferred overseas (and it certainly cannot be taken for granted that no action will be taken in this regard).

The provision also has an effect on providers of customer engagement solutions using direct digital marketing platforms currently operating in the Italian and European markets. Not only do they now have to find a way to close this “regulatory gap” but their clients have been forced into a situation of uncertainty, compared with the previous simpler, albeit, weaker state of affairs.

Contactlab wishes to reassure its clients, and the public in general, that its approach to customer engagement via direct digital marketing is privacy compliant by definition as its servers, collected data and processes generated from this data are and have always remained within the European Union, specifically in Italy. In the near future, these activities will be moved to Amsterdam, where ContactLab is in the process of acquiring a new space for its data farm. Customers will receive detailed information about this move soon. Entrusting your data to Contactlab means no uncertainty and total security. Your 100% reliable Italian partner is the real “safe harbor” in Europe whom you can trust to create all your customer engagement programmes.

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