Shock Waves Felt as Safe Harbor Ruled Invalid

European Union rules about handling data privacy and personally identifiable information (PII) are much more stringent than in the U.S. For 15 years, the U.S. has relied on the Safe Harbor framework, administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, to allow EU data to be stored legally in the United States — or, more specifically, in data centers outside of Europe.

When the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in October that the Safe Harbor framework is invalid, it sent shock waves throughout the global IT industry.


Many of our customers are manufacturers with operations, or plans to operate, in countries worldwide, including in both Europe and North America. For those manufacturers concerned about how the recent Safe Harbor rulings will affect their ongoing or nascent Internet of Things (IoT) plans, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Ayla recently launched our Europe cloud, which complies with EU privacy rules and regulations. Manufacturers’ PII about their end users stays in the EU on the Ayla Europe cloud, within the auspices of the EU regulations. At the very least, IoT manufacturers doing business in Europe can retain their data in the Ayla Europe cloud until alternatives to the Safe Harbor framework are worked out.
  • There will be an amnesty period of a couple of months, before enforcement of the new rules begins. A lot might happen during this time, including the emergence of a different Safe Harbor framework or new laws that make it easier for the EU to get data into the United States.
  • For any manufacturers concerned about cross-country data compliance, we recommend retaining private legal counsel to sort through the particulars of your situation.

In a very real sense, Ayla is ideally positioned to handle this Safe Harbor news. Our ability to react quickly and decisively to constantly evolving changes—whether to IoT technologies, standards, protocols, or regulations—is built into the very nature of our approach to the IoT.

We will be monitoring this situation carefully. Stay tuned, and we will continue to provide guidance as new decisions are made and more information becomes available.