Microsoft said yesterday that it will sign the Safe Harbour Agreement that allows the uninterrupted flow of personal information from Europe to the US.
The framework will allow US companies to satisfy the European Directive's requirements and ensure that personal data flows to the US are not interrupted.
Microsoft, which joins Hewlett Packard (HP) and others, said it would be among the first US companies to commit to the agreement, which takes effect on 1 July 2001.
Richard Purcell, the software giant's director of corporate privacy, who made the announcement in Brussels, said this commitment to information principles was well established.
"Because our company privacy policies are consistent with European Union (EU) principles for data protection, Microsoft is able to sign the Safe Harbour Agreement with the US Department of Commerce this summer."
The European Commission issued the Directive on Data Protection to protect the privacy of EU citizens. The directive states that for those countries outside the EU whose privacy practices are not deemed "adequate", transfers of personal information from Europe to those countries would be stopped.
Jean Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the announcement to sign the agreement was a natural step and reinforces Microsoft's continued commitment to protect its European customers' data.
The decision by US companies to enter the agreement is entirely voluntary, but the adoption of the guidelines by US firms has been slow.
Most of the companies that have signed up, with the exception of HP and The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation, are small to medium sized businesses such as Capital Venue, Cybercitizens First and Strategic Marketing.
Many larger companies are still "investigating their options or taking a wait-and-see approach", said Jeff Rohlmeier, a trade official at the US Department of Commerce.
IBM and Technical University of Munich team demonstrate how Shor's algorithm, which can't be cracked by conventional computers, can be solved quickly with quantum computing
Hubble Space Telescope finds superflares from young red dwarfs could strip away planetary atmosphere
Younger stars are 100 to 1,000 times more energetic than when they're older
Two of the big four supermarkets will use the system to control sales of restricted products
PUBG news and updates: November's Update #23 to bring new Skorpion pistol and changes to blue zone visibility
Genuinely useful side-arm coming to PUBG in Update #23