Microsoft Became The First Major U.S. Tech Company to Endorse Privacy Protection Pact With the EU

By Staff Writer

Apr 13, 2016 06:53 AM EDT

Microsoft announced that the company pledges to sign up for the new EU-U.S. data pact, the Privacy Shield. The company said it has reviewed the pact's documentation in detail and believes that it should be approved.

After the announcement on Monday, Microsoft became the first major U.S. tech company to officially stated it would endorse the privacy pact between EU and the U.S. It means the tech giant would transfer users' information to the United States using a new transatlantic commercial data pact. Also, the company agreed to resolve any disputes with European privacy watchdogs, as reported by Reuters.

The Privacy Shield is a data pact imposes stronger obligations on U.S. companies to protect Europeans' personal data. The pact was ruled by the European Court of Justice, demanding U.S. companies to cooperate with European Data Protection Authorities. However, the agreement seemed to not received enough support both from U.S. tech companies and even EU data protection authorities.

Amid the lack of support from U.S. tech companies, Microsoft has decided to lean towards the agreement. In a blog post, the company's vice president of European government affairs John Frank wrote, "I'm pleased to announce today that Microsoft pledges to sign up for the Privacy Shield, and we will put in place new commitments to advance privacy as this instrument is implemented."

Furthermore, Frank said that the company has reviewed the agreement's documentation in detail. As a result, they believe that it should be approved. The company also argued that the Privacy Shield represents an effective framework. Others have criticized the pact's framework for failing to address the wider concerns about U.S. surveillance.

Frank added that additional steps are still needed to improve the Privacy Shield, from aspects like "additional domestic legislation to modernisation of mutual legal assistance treaties and new bilateral and ultimately multilateral agreements". 

As for now, Microsoft is opening itself to respond to any complaints about its participation in the data privacy agreement. The company will respond complaints within 45 days while working to resolve any disputes under the agreement, as reported by Computing. The company will also meet with EU data protection bodies to discuss further about the data-sharing framework.

Microsoft became the first major U.S. tech company to endorse the EU-U.S. agreement on data privacy, the Privacy Shield. The company is responding to any complaints within 45 days while discussing the matter further with EU data protection officials, as well as resolve disputes accordingly. 

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