The ICDR®/AAA® provides international alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services for nationals from the EU and Switzerland pursuant to the U.S.-European Union (EU) and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor programs.

Under the EU’s Directive on Data Protection (Directive 95/46/EC) and the Member State laws that implement Directive 95/46/EC, personal data may only be transferred outside of the EU to countries that have been formally recognized by the EU as ensuring “adequate” data protection. The Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection (FADP) includes a similar restriction concerning the transfer of personal data outside of Switzerland.

The Safe Harbor programs were developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, in consultation with the European Commission and the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner of Switzerland to bridge the differences between those countries’ approaches to privacy and the approach followed by the United States, as well to provide a streamlined means for U.S. companies to comply with EU and Swiss data protection law. Companies participating in the Safe Harbor programs will be deemed to have “adequate” data protection, and data flows to those companies can proceed.

The U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks establish that the benefits of the “Safe Harbor” are available only to eligible U.S. companies that process (i.e., collect, use and/or retain) personal data transferred from the EU/EEA and/or Switzerland and affirmatively commit themselves to adhere to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles.

In order to ensure compliance with the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, there must be readily available and affordable independent recourse mechanisms so that each individual's complaints  and disputes (e.g., complaints and disputes of residents of the EU and Switzerland) can be investigated and resolved and damages awarded where the applicable law or private sector initiatives so provide.

To meet this requirement, a company can choose an ADR provider such as the International Centre for Dispute Resolution®, the international division of the American Arbitration Association® (ICDR/AAA) to resolve its disputes.

Benefits to Using the ICDR/AAA
    • The ICDR/AAA is the largest international ADR provider.
    • ICDR/AAA arbitrators and mediators are drawn from a pool of professionals with privacy expertise and language capabilities from many different countries.
    • Disputes will be determined pursuant to the ICDR International Arbitration Rules, based on documents only and as modified by the Safe Harbor procedures and fee schedule for this program.
    • In-person hearings will not be provided for these cases unless they are requested and agreed to by the parties. 
    • Arbitrations will be conducted on an expedited basis.

    About the ICDR/AAA Safe Harbor Program

    ICDR Dispute Resolution Procedures (click on the appropriate language)

    U.S.-EU and/or U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Companies

    For further information, please contact:

    Jason Cabrera by phone at +1.212.484.3207 or by email at
    Luis M. Martinez by phone at +1.212.716.5833 or by email at
    Thomas Ventrone by phone at +1.212.484.4115 or by email at