Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Announced

On January 11, 2017, Switzerland agreed to its own new data transfer agreement with the United States that will replace U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor. The new framework requires stricter application of data protection principles by participating companies and collaboration and enforcement of the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield by the U.S. authorities.

The new agreement, which will allow companies to legally transfer Swiss personal data to the U.S., is largely based on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield adopted on July 12, 2016.

Although not part of the EU, Switzerland is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and has several bilateral agreements with the EU. According to the announcement, “[t]he fact that the two frameworks are similar is highly significant, as it guarantees the same general conditions for persons and businesses in Switzerland and the EU/EEA area in relation to trans-Atlantic data flows.”

Companies can begin to self-certify under the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield in about 90 days.