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Profile Image Aytekin Tank is founder of JotForm. He currently leads the JotForm development team. He loves to hear from JotForm users. Feel free to shoot him an email at aytekin at jotform.com.


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EU Safe Forms: Our Solution to the EU Safe Harbor Invalidation

October 28, 2015

We are proud to have thousands of users in every European country. Until recently, we were part of what was known as the “Safe Harbor” framework, which allowed US companies to store data for their European customers in the US. Unfortunately, a European court recently invalidated the Safe Harbor framework.


This decision put many American companies, and their customers, in a tough spot. Most common solutions included stopping service in Europe, or getting the European users to sign a more legalese, called a "model contract clause."


There was no way JotForm would stop serving our European customers, but it's unclear if creating more terms and conditions for our users would be a permanent solution.


We decided to swallow the bitter medicine instead and fix this correctly.


The only permanent solution is to do what European governments are asking: Store European user data only in European servers and never transfer it back to the US.


We already have dedicated servers in Germany, both in Nuremberg and Frankfurt. Our setup includes two separate data centers so that we never lose our users’ data. We updated our software with a new option, to transfer all user data to our European servers. Once a European user switches to EU Safe Mode, their form data will only be kept on our European servers.


One great bonus of this setup is that it will be faster. Since the forms and data are now kept in Europe, and our European site is hosted in Europe, both our users and the people responding to their forms will enjoy optimized site performance.


In the coming months, we are planning to have all of our European users switch to the new setup, but during the beta period, switching to our European servers is optional.



Transfer My Data to EU Now





What happens when I “Transfer My Data to Europe”?


After confirmation, your form data will be copied to our European servers. Once the transfer is complete and everything is double checked, we will delete your data from our US servers.


Upon completion, you'll receive a confirmation email from us. Since your data is only available on jotformeu.com, when you log into JotForm, you'll be redirected there to access your data.



What is Safe Harbor?


Safe Harbor is an agreement between the United States Department of Commerce and the EU made in 2000 to regulate the way US companies export and handle personal data of European citizens.



Why was it invalidated?


The European Court of Justice invalidated the US-EU Safe Harbor framework as a result of a case against Facebook. The court decided the personal privacy and data protection laws were inadequate in the US.



Why is this decision so important?


US companies, such as JotForm, depended on the Safe Harbor framework to transfer and store European data in US servers. After this decision, we are not allowed to transfer or store the data in our US servers.



What is an EU Safe Form?


An EU Safe Form is a form that is served from JotForm’s European servers in Germany. When the form data is submitted it is stored in JotForm’s European servers and the data can only be accessed from JotForm’s European site. The data is never transferred to the US.


Note that a EU Safe Form is only safe if you are a JotForm user in Europe. If you are a US company collecting data in Europe, you are still violating EU privacy laws when you access the data from US. The EU Data Protection Directive allows a data transfer if the data subject unambiguously consents to the transfer. So you must unambiguously state in your form that the data will be transferred to US and get agreement from the user with a terms checkbox or a terms widget.



How can I check if my account is in EU Safe Mode?


On, My Account Settings page, you can check if your account is currently in the EU Safe mode. You should also receive an email confirmation once all of your form data is transferred to our EU servers.





Transfer My Data to EU Now






20 Comments...


   
PunkHealth (October 28, 2015 at 12:43 PM)

Hi there - great news and well done for responding to this so efficiently and elegantly.
I've tried to click the "Transfer my data to Europe" button but nothing happens....apart from the page reloading.
Am I missing something?

many thanks
James

View Answer


   
victorfpaula (October 28, 2015 at 01:24 PM)

Após transferir meus dados para o novo servidor, não consigo mais acessar minha conta!
por favor! me ajudem!

View Answer


   
OnePayroll (October 28, 2015 at 04:01 PM)

Excellent work Jotform! This is proof why Jotform stands out from the rest!

View Answer


   
dadavewatson (October 29, 2015 at 02:27 AM)

This does not affect your Customers outside of Europe. Do we need to migrate?

View Answer


   
swhitw (October 29, 2015 at 04:14 AM)

Thanks very much JotForm!

View Answer


   
esens (October 29, 2015 at 07:21 AM)

Will I need to re include forms on all my customers websites or transfer is safe for me ?

View Answer


   
1thomh1 (October 29, 2015 at 10:02 AM)

Will there be any downtime while this happens? We host rather a lot of important forms through your service so we'd need to know in advance if this needs to be done overnight. Also, CAN this be done ovwernight, or will it be done on a case by case basis, when jotform staff are able to do them? If I press go now, will it start now?

View Answer


   
drazek (October 29, 2015 at 11:02 AM)

what about American companies collecting EU user data in addition to US and the rest of the worlds data? Are we supposed to be moving everything to EU or breaking up the forms to have separate versions for EU?

View Answer


   
daithi37 (November 03, 2015 at 01:05 PM)

Thanks, but no need to fly the EU flag. We're sick to the teeth with it over here.


   
alfonsoponce (November 04, 2015 at 04:23 PM)

Good Work Jot Form !


   
thelimburger (November 05, 2015 at 05:28 AM)

This happened to me yesterday:

.GWP-3570752
Postmaster Team odpowiada [05-11-2015 11:07]:
---------------------------------------------

Dear User,

thank You for contacting the Postmaster Team of Grupa Wirtualna Polska S.A.

We blocked your e-mails because of the jotformeu.com domain which was in your SMTP header or mail contents. This domain was listed on URIBL so this is the reason of the rejection.

--
Zespół Postmaster / The Postmaster Team
-----------------------------------
Dział Obsługi Klienta / Customer Service
Pon-Pt 8:00 - 18:00 / Mon-Fri 8:00 - 18:00
-----------------------------------
Grupy Wirtualna Polska S.A.

View Answer


   
luchtmeijer (November 06, 2015 at 11:15 AM)

Hi,
I've got forms on "jotformeu.com" and on "jotform.com".
Will that be a problem and should I do something?
Frank

View Answer


   
BFV (November 18, 2015 at 07:14 AM)

Hi,
will this effect the url of the forms itself? We published al lot of forms with the jotform.com-url. Di we have to change the url of each form or will it be redirected to the eu-url?

Thank You

View Answer


   
guest_31403602293040 (January 22, 2016 at 06:16 AM)

So this would mean that under no circumstances, my data on your EU servers can be accessed in the US?

Do you have a separate European office that is will be dealing with European users?

View Answer


   
MagicBaloon (January 25, 2016 at 05:51 AM)

Thanks for all these info... one detail it is FREE to move the data in EU or we need to pay something ?

Thanks !

View Answer


   
fingerprintedprints (January 25, 2016 at 07:24 AM)

If I transfer my data to the European server will I have to change the urls of all my forms I already have in use? I have hundreds of forms I use in my ebay shop & I simply would not have the time to change all of my links.

Is it necessary to change to the EU servers, what would happen if I did nothing?

Would my forms still work?



Lee ...

View Answer


   
Jared (January 25, 2016 at 07:28 AM)

I love the way you write 'unfortunately' the EU have changed the rules. They have done so to protect European users information being mis-used. It means that the EU cares about the privacy and the rights of its inhabitants.

Jotform's attitude here is very disappointing. Twisting the info to make the concern for data integrity shown by Europeans seem like a red tape inconvenience.

Judging by the comments here it seems like too many people are foolish enough to swallow it.


   
rachelg (February 17, 2016 at 05:53 AM)

I noticed that our form was automatically given an eu address and when I checked My Account Settings storage in the EU had been ticked. This is fine with me, but it does seem to cut across the instructions elsewhere on the site about opting in to this choice. Has this now changed?

Thanks, Rachel

View Answer


   
Michelle (June 14, 2016 at 05:19 PM)

Hi, I am in Australia and wish to use your forms to collect sensitive information from clients. Do you have plans for an Australian server or would it be appropriate for me to use the EU server? Thank you.

View Answer


   
robben (June 22, 2016 at 11:25 PM)

جيد


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