Personal data is a valuable asset. Within the EU, they are protected by the EU DSGVO, the basic data protection regulation. The transfer of such data to third countries has been subject to legal and regulatory uncertainties following the ECJ's overturning of the Privacy Shield Agreement with the US in July 2020. While the EU Commission is still revising the standard contractual clauses on the transfer of information, our partner Microsoft is moving forward with improved data protection measures for business customers.
On 20 November 2020, Microsoft became the first tech company in the world to announce new protection measures for customers transferring their data from the European Union to third countries. This was a very quick response to the recommendations of the European Data Protection Authority (EDSA or EDPB), which were intended to provide guidance following the ECJ ruling on the EU-US Privacy Shield ("Schrems II").
The measures go beyond the EDSA's basic recommendations and include a commitment to reject or challenge any request for business customer data from public authorities, such as the US authorities, if there is no legal basis for doing so. The highest standards of data encryption will be used and keys will never be issued without legal procedures in place. Microsoft customers will be informed immediately in case of official enquiries, because absolute transparency is the goal here.
In addition, users in the business sector would be financially compensated if their data were to be disclosed as a result of unlawful requests from public authorities. "Defending Your Data" is how Microsoft describes its safeguards and makes them part of its contract.
Hitachi Solutions, a long-standing Microsoft business partner, can also build on this commitment, which is bundled in the Microsoft Trust Centre. Throughout Europe, we advise demanding customers in business and the public sector with innovative ERP and CRM solutions supported by the Microsoft Cloud. Harmony, a core value of our group of companies, also carries reliability as a characteristic feature. A reliability that we live with our customers and also discuss with Microsoft as a Gold Partner.
We are firmly convinced that Microsoft reliably approaches and implements the issue of data protection. We live innovation and for this we will break new ground together with you. Not in spite of this, but precisely because of this, we are aware of the need to protect your data. Data protection is a fundamental right and has high priority for us. Without protection and transparency, people's trust in technology cannot flourish - and without their trust, the success of the digital transformation is at risk. We are proud that Microsoft is setting new standards here.