P&AB's Model Contracts Program for Data Protection - Phase 2

Many European companies are already using the Internet to transmit via their Intranets personally-identifiable information on their employees and managers or their customers and clients back to the U.S. for data processing or administrative review. They may not be aware that transborder flows of personally-identifiable information may be prohibited under the terms of the EU Data Protection Directive, which went into full effect in October 1999. Data stoppages under the EU Directive have been held in abeyance during Safe Harbor talks. It is not clear how long the standstill in data flow stoppages will continue now that the Safe Harbor agreement is concluded. The impact on businesses in North America may be profound, as the recent Brookings Institute study confirms.

However, the Directive does offer ways in which organizations can gain authorization for personal data flows. Along with industry codes of conduct, companies can meet EU standards through the execution of contracts, provided that those contracts include acceptable remedies and data protection procedures.

Multinational companies interested in pursuing this contractual approach are invited to participate in Phase 2 of a major initiative by Privacy & American Business. In Phase 1, the Model Contracts Project developed a customizable sectoral model contract that may be used by companies that transfer any personally-identifiable information from Europe to the U.S. for processing under the terms of the EU Directive.

Phase 2 will provide development of a customizable sectoral model contract that is compliant with the newly approved Safe Harbor Principles.

Working Groups will draft, under the guidance of a team of legal and data protection experts provided by P&AB, Safe Harbor compliant contracts for:

Financial Services
Information Systems and Internet Commerce
Health & Medical

* Human Resource contracts which are Safe Harbor compliant will be developed as part of P&AB's HR Data Consortium.

Participants in the project will gain model contracts and customizable templates crafted to meet the data flow needs of their companies that are compliant with Safe Harbor Principles. Most importantly, they will gain as much advance assurance as possible that the contracts developed will meet the adequacy requirements of the EU Directive and the Safe Harbor Principles.

A P&AB planning group will set the date for the first meeting of the New Model Contracts Project Phase 2. Some of the organizations that participated in Phase 1 include: ISA, Citicorp, American Express, Experian, Dun & Bradstreet, GMAC, Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Delta Airlines, IBM and AT&T, as well as key staff members from the U.S. Department of Commerce who, along with participating, also voiced their support for the project.

Those interested in receiving additional information about Phase 2 of the New Model Contracts Project should contact Lorrie Sherwood at (201) 996-1154 or ctrslr@aol.com. ISA is a participating organization and its members may receive a Program discount.