Originally Safe Harbor was instated to make it easier for US companies to receive data about European citizens without breaking any cross nation laws. As of Tuesday, October 6th 2015 this pact has been retracted, causing American companies to panic.
Bigger companies such as Facebook and Amazon have been preparing for this transition, but smaller businesses and startups are stunned by the news and unsure of how to proceed with their operations. Small businesses that have apps used by Europeans are worried they will have to shut down their app completely if they are unable to control if the app is being used within or outside of the US. The larger companies have prepared by scrambling to build data storage facilities in parts of Europe to by pass the cross boarder laws.
Is it right for Europe to strip American companies of the right to receive data from European customers using American products?
If it is okay for large corporations to collect the data produced by anyone who uses the internet, why is this suddenly becoming an issue of boarders? The internet is used worldwide, are we going to start limiting users’ internet activity to only websites operating out of their country?
Experts are advising that small companies find their way around the Big Data Safe Harbor pact by rewriting their client contracts and including an “agree” or “disagree” option during signup, determining whether their data will be shared with a company outside of Europe. Rewriting contracts can be very expensive, placing a large burden on small businesses, but it is an option that will allow them to keep their European customers.
As Big Data seems to be becoming more and more of a crucial element to a business’s success, we can only hope there will not be more of these changes that make it very hard for small companies to survive.
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