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Microsoft Decides to Support U.S.-EU Data Privacy Shield

Microsoft Corporation MSFT became the first U.S. tech company to publicly support the Privacy Shield, a new transatlantic data transfer deal struck by the U.S. Department of Commerce and European Commission. The new deal is aimed at providing greater security to private data transferred between the U.S. and Europe.

Microsoft's vice president of European government affairs John Frank stated, "I'm pleased to announce today that Microsoft pledges to sign up for the Privacy Shield, and we will put in place new commitments to advance privacy as this instrument is implemented. He further added, "We have reviewed the Privacy Shield documentation in detail, and we believe wholeheartedly that it represents an effective framework and should be approved."

By endorsing the Privacy Shield, Microsoft now commits to respond to individual privacy complaints within 45 days.  The company also agreed to cooperate with EU national data protection authorities and act in accordance with their advice on any disputes under the Privacy Shield.

Privacy shield is a replacement of the 15 year old Safe Harbour transatlantic data privacy agreement that was declared invalid by the European court of Justice last October.

The first draft of the shield was published in February and faced widespread criticism for failing to stop U.S. surveillance practices. Last week’s leaked documents seem to point out caveats in the shield indicating that it is still not ready to live up to the expectations of Europe’s privacy regulators. 

Thus, Microsoft’s decision to support the Privacy Shield seems to be rather bold especially when the shield is in a nascent stage, demanding a lot of additions and improvements.

At present, Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks worth considering in the broader  technology space include Nuance Communications, Inc. NUAN, Progress Software Corporation PRGS and NetSol Technologies, Inc. NTWK, each sporting a Zacks Rank  #1 (Strong Buy).

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