Posted on Oct 30, 2015

The FDOG will provide a forum to further identify, develop and promote Guernsey as a leading jurisdiction for fintech and digital businesses.

FDGO’s first meeting included discussion around Guernsey’s position as a secure and trusted location for data storage, with strong privacy safeguards, which allow it to lawfully process data from multiple jurisdictions including the US and EU. Timing of the meeting also allowed the group to discuss the landmark judgment of the European Court of Justice, ending the US Safe Harbour scheme.

The Safe Harbour Decision, adopted by the European Commission in 2000, had been one of the main legal mechanisms for the transfer of personal data from Europe to the United States for the past 15 years. Now that the decision has been declared invalid, it cannot be used to render these transfers of personal data lawful.

The European Court’s decision is based on the Edward Snowden leaks. Facebook Ireland had been transferring the personal data of its users in Europe to Facebook USA. The leaks revealed that Facebook USA’s data is capable of being accessed by US security agencies in the course of mass and indiscriminate surveillance. Further, the European Court identified that the US has no independent authority capable of verifying that such access to personal data is strictly necessary under the Safe Harbour Scheme.

In contrast, Guernsey’s legislation ensures that sufficient checks and balances are placed, not only on the processing of data, but also on official requests for disclosure of information. For example, requests for disclosure may be made through the Royal Court or by off-Island authorities through Guernsey’s Attorney General, HM Procureur. This process differs significantly from many other jurisdictions, which may be through a ministerial process.

It means Guernsey places itself as a truly secure, robust and trusted jurisdiction for personal data storage, with significant protection and a strong level of data privacy for individuals and compliance standards for business.