US firms ignore Safe Harbor

The US' multinational companies have made little progress in adopting European standards for data protection.

The US' multinational companies have made little progress in adopting European standards for data protection.

The Safe Harbor rules, designed to help US companies to meet minimum European data protection standards, are being ignored by many Fortune 500 companies, research has revealed.

The lack of progress is threatening to disrupt business transactions between US and European companies, said Andersen, which commissioned the study.

The US and Europe agreed the Safe Harbor principles in July last year to provide US companies with a straightforward way of complying with the European Union's data protection directive.

But of 75 top US companies questioned, none have yet complied with all six principles, only two have complied with five principles and eight have only complied with one.

Fewer than half offered adequate levels of security, only 5% had adequate methods of enforcement, and just over a third allowed the public to correct mistakes in personal information.

About 80 companies have joined Safe Harbor to date, according to the US Department of Commerce.

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