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Facebook, Amazon Rely on Workarounds as EU Data Deal Dies

  • Companies say there are options for trans-Atlantic transfers
  • But industry group warns of harm to Europe's data economy
Facebook said in a statement that it, “like many thousands of European companies, relies on a number of the methods prescribed by EU law to legally transfer data to the U.S. from Europe, aside from safe harbor.”

Facebook said in a statement that it, “like many thousands of European companies, relies on a number of the methods prescribed by EU law to legally transfer data to the U.S. from Europe, aside from safe harbor.”

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
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Customers’ digital data is lifeblood for companies like Google Inc. and Facebook Inc., and the European Union’s highest court just made it more difficult for them to make money off the information.

The EU Court of Justice struck down a 15-year-old pact that allowed companies to transfer data -- such as social-network profiles -- from Europe to the U.S., where Silicon Valley analysts use it to improve products or target ads or develop marketing campaigns. With the so-called safe harbor agreement annulled, “you have to move back in time,” said Mark Thompson, head of the privacy practice at KPMG in the U.K.