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FullContact Adopts Privacy Shield

FullContact Among First to Adopt Privacy Shield

Written By:
Bart Lorang

We’re excited to announce that FullContact is among the very first U.S. tech companies to adopt the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework. We’ve moved fast. In fact, FullContact has joined and adopted the Privacy Shield before Google, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

This is important on many levels, but first, let me provide some background.

FullContact + Privacy

Since the inception of FullContact in 2010, we’ve been thinking deeply about Privacy & Control – a key topic when dealing with sensitive contact data. It’s an important topic to everyone that works at FullContact and our continuous conversation about it is an important part of our company culture.

In 2011, when we were a Techstars Boulder startup, we spent a bunch of time working with mentors, advisors and legal counsel to make sure we were always compliant with an increasingly complex privacy ecosystem globally. More important than the laws, however, was how did it feel to us as people and citizens? We landed on a simple framework: “If it’s private, it’s private. If it’s public, it’s everyone’s.”

In 2012, we expanded and iterated on this concept and wrote FullContact’s Five Laws of Privacy. In this, we outlined our core promises and principles in straightforward plain language.

The TL;DR version is this:

  1. Your Trust is of the Utmost Importance To Us, and We Will Never Betray It
  2. Your Contact Data and Your Contact Record is Yours
  3. Your Private Data is Private
  4. Your Data is Protected
  5. Your Data is Portable

Also in 2012, we certified with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework – key principles that govern control and transfer of personal and private data between the EU and U.S. companies.

All of these principles have worked well for us as FullContact has grown and scaled. We have launched a number of contact management applications and services – both Apps and APIs – and we now have tens of thousands of customers and millions of end users around the globe.

A Global Conversation

Over this time, however, the environment surrounding data rights and privacy has grown increasingly complex. In general, people around the world have started to desire more Transparency & Control about their data. People now want to get answers to these questions:

  • What data exists about me?
  • Where does this data exist?
  • Who has access to this data?
  • How is this data being used?

The EU courts have been on the forefront of this conversation.

As a result, on October 6, 2015, the Safe Harbor agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission for the transfer of personal data was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice. Companies committed to the security of personal data have been seeking a replacement since.

Privacy Shield

Finally, on July 12th, 2016, after months of wrangling and negotiation, the European Commission approved the Privacy Shield framework, which replaces the Safe Harbor framework.

The Privacy Shield framework has stricter requirements and is better for consumers. We view this as a great step forward for individual consumers and completely aligned with our Five Laws of Privacy.

As a result, FullContact didn’t need to make any major changes to our Privacy Policy or operating procedures, as we had already adopted the principles of Privacy Shield many years ago.

The Road Ahead

Personally, I am incredibly excited to see the ecosystem and regulatory bodies understand and legislate that Transparency & Control are important to people. At FullContact, we’ve known this for a while; see Rule #2 – Your Contact Record is Yours.

The idea that you should be in control of your own data is a deeply held belief at FullContact. You can expect that we will continue to introduce new and improved technology, services and applications that maximize your access to your digital identity and put you in control of your own data.

And as the world continues to evolve the conversation surrounding privacy rights, rest assured that FullContact will remain committed to our Five Laws of Privacy and be on the forefront of adoption of privacy regulation around the globe.

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