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Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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DOC has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13.

Bureau: International Trade Administration.

Title: Information for Self-Certification Under FAQ 6 of the United States European Union Safe Harbor Privacy Framework.

Agency Form Number: N/A.

OMB Number: 0625-0239.

Type of Request: Regular Submission.

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Burden: 350 hours.

Number of Respondents: 500.

Avg. Hours Per Response: 20-40 minutes.

Needs and Uses: In response to the European Union Directive on Data Protection that restricts transfers of personal information from Europe to countries whose privacy practices are not deemed “adequate,” the U.S. Department of Commerce has developed a “Safe Harbor” framework that will allow U.S. organizations to satisfy the European Directive's requirements and ensure that personal data flows to the United States are not interrupted. In this process, the Department of Commerce repeatedly consulted with U.S. organizations affected by the European Directive and interested non-government organizations. On July 27, 2000, the European Commission issued its decision in accordance with Article 25.6 of the Directive that the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles provide adequate privacy protection. The Safe Harbor framework bridges the differences between the European Union (EU) and U.S. approaches to privacy protection. The complete set of Safe Harbor documents and additional guidance materials may be found at http://export.gov/​safeharbor.

Once the Safe Harbor was deemed “adequate” by the European Commission on July 27, 2000, the Department of Commerce began working on the requirements that are necessary to put this accord into effect. The European Member States implemented the decision made by the Commission within 90 days. Therefore, the Safe Harbor became operational on November 1, 2000. The Department of Commerce created a list for U.S. organizations to sign up to the Safe Harbor and provided guidance on the mechanics of signing up to this list. As of April 22, 2004, 487 U.S. organizations have been placed on the Safe Harbor List, located at http://export.gov/​safeharbor.

Organizations that have signed up to this list are deemed “adequate” under the Directive and do not have to provide further documentation to European officials. This list will be used by EU organizations to determine whether further information and contracts will be needed for a U.S. organization to receive personally identifiable information. This list is necessary to make the Safe Harbor accord operational, and was a key demand of the Europeans in agreeing that the Principles were providing “adequate” privacy protection.

The Safe Harbor provides a number of important benefits to U.S. firms. Most importantly, it provides predictability and continuity for U.S. organizations that receive personal information from the European Union. Personally identifiable information is defined as any that can be identified to a specific person, for example an employee's name and extension would be considered personally identifiable information. All 15 member countries are bound by the European Commission's finding of “adequacy”. The Safe Harbor also eliminates the need for prior approval to begin data transfers, or makes approval from the appropriate EU member countries automatic. The Safe Harbor principles offer a simpler and cheaper means of complying with the adequacy requirements of the Directive, which should particularly benefit small and medium enterprises.

The decision to enter the Safe Harbor is entirely voluntary. Organizations that decide to participate in the Safe Harbor must comply with the Safe Harbor's requirements and publicly declare that they do so. To be assured of Safe Harbor benefits, an organization needs to reaffirm its self-certification annually to the Department of Commerce that it agrees to adhere to the safe harbor's requirements, which includes elements such as notice, choice, access, data integrity, security and enforcement.

This list will be most regularly used by European Union organizations to determine whether further information and contracts will be needed by a U.S. organization to receive personally identifiable information. It will be used by the European Data Protection Authorities to determine whether a company is providing “adequate” protection, and whether a company has requested to cooperate with the Data Protection Authority. This list will be accessed when there is a complaint logged in the EU against a U.S. organization. This will be on a monthly basis. It will be used by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Transportation to determine whether a company is part of the Safe Harbor. This will be accessed if a company is practicing “unfair and deceptive” practices and has misrepresented itself to the public. It will be used by the Department of Commerce and the European Commission to determine if organizations are signing up to the list. This list is updated on a regular basis.

Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profit.

Frequency: Annually.

Respondent's Obligations: Voluntary.

OMB Desk Officer: David Rostker, (202) 395-7340.

Copies of the above information collection proposal can be obtained by writing Diana Hynek, Departmental Paperwork, Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6625, 14th & Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at dHynek@doc.gov).

Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent to David Rostker, OMB Desk Officer, Room 10202, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503 within 30 days of the publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

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Dated: May 3, 2004.

Madeleine Clayton,

Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.

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[FR Doc. 04-10347 Filed 5-5-04; 8:45 am]

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