It’s a great day to be a Canadian. It’s an even better day to be a Canadian tech business owner.
Bust out the bacon because we’re all celebrating. Why?
This week, the European Court of Justice ruled that the transatlantic Safe Harbour agreement is now invalid. This essential clause once let American companies use a single standard for consumer privacy and data storage in the US and Europe. However, after Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks proved that European data stored by US companies was not safe from illegal surveillance, Europe’s highest court has rejected the agreement.
This ruling is final and cannot be appealed.
Any American company that collects personally identifiable data - including giant social networks like Facebook - could now be forced by each and every individual European countries’ data regulators to either host European data in Europe, or be locked out entirely. Needless to say - it’s a mess for US identity management companies.
But what negative impact does this have on Canadian companies? Absolutely none. In fact, it’s a godsend for “underdog” Canadian companies that struggle to compete with less regulated American companies.
Since Canadian privacy laws like the PIPEDA are already compliant with European privacy laws, we don’t need a special clause to do business. As long as you’re legally operating and hosting your data on Canadian soil, you’re free to collect and store European data in Canada.
To quote the European Commission directly, "The European Commission has recognised that the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act provides adequate protection for certain personal data transferred from the EU to Canada. This will allow certain personal data to flow freely from the EU to recipients in Canada subject to the Canadian Act, without additional safeguards being needed to meet the requirements of the EU Data Protection Directive."
This means Canadian identity management companies like ours can continue to do business with companies anywhere in the world regardless of the Safe Harbour Ruling, because Canadian data collection and storage policies are internationally accepted as ethical, transparent and legal. That is, so long as our politicians choose to protect our data privacy with reasonable policy and avoid the mistakes America arguably made in this regard.
So if you’re thinking of hosting your data or setting up shop in the US, please reconsider. Establishing and hosting in Vancouver, Toronto or any other Canadian city provides you with a global potential consumer base, without legal hurdles.
Even if you’re not a tech company, choosing a Canadian platform for your identity management protects you from now-threatened American providers. Plus, it automatically invites you to our beer and poutine celebration at the all-local Tap and Barrel down the street.