July is set to be a busy month in Luxembourg. On the first and second of the month, the General Court of the European Union (which is part of the Court of Justice of the European Union) will hear a case against the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield brought by three French NGOs, La Quadrature du Net, French Data Network and Fédération FDN. A week later, on 9 July, the CJEU will hear arguments in Schrems II, in which the Irish High Court has referred 11 questions relating to whether the European Commission’s Standard Contractual Clauses provide an adequate level of protection for personal data which is transferred to the US.
Part 9 of Future-Proofing Privacy: Future-Proofing Privacy: International Data Transfers 2.0. The Data Protection Directive and the Regulation both impose restrictions on the transfer of personal data by EU based businesses (whether those businesses are data controllers or data processors) to destinations outside the EEA. These restrictions, however, have not been uniformly implemented by EU Member States. In some Member States additional requirements apply, such as prior notification to or approval by the local DPA, particularly where companies wish to rely on EU Model Clauses or BCRs. This approach is essentially set to continue
with some variations.
Following the announcement by the European Commission of the newly agreed EU-US Privacy Shield, the missing piece of the jigsaw was the Article 29 Working Party’s stance on the adequacy of the existing mechanisms in place—in particular, standard contractual clauses and binding corporate rules. So after two days of intense discussions, the Working Party has issued a statement with its latest position, which is the follow up to their original reaction to the invalidation of Safe Harbor last October. The bottom line: the Working Party still does not view US government surveillance laws as sufficiently protective of privacy—a position which calls all transfers of personal data to the US in question, regardless of the methods used to legitimise the transfer—but they will reconsider this position in light of the Privacy Shield in the coming months.
The EU’s Article 29 Working Party issued a statement today on the recent Schrems decision invalidating the adequacy of the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor framework, emphasizing that affected businesses should start to put in place legal and technical solutions in a timely manner to meet EU data protection standards. The statement gave a January 2016 deadline for companies to come into compliance with the ruling, at which point EU data protection authorities would be “committed to take all necessary and appropriate actions, which may include coordinated enforcement actions.” In response, we publish here a high-level analysis of the possible options available for companies—including the EU Standard Contractual Clauses, Intra-Group Agreements and other ad-hoc contracts, Binding Corporate Rules, Safe Harbor 2.0, and consent—and the pros and cons of choosing each one.
Jan Albrecht, the rapporteur for the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, released a draft report last month with key proposals to amend the European Commission’s proposed Regulation on data protection. The report includes a total of 350 amendments to the original proposal. Highlights of the 215-page report include the following:
The Spanish Data Protection Authority (SDPA) has established new procedures that allow data processors (not data controllers) based in Spain to obtain authorizations for transferring data processed on behalf of their customers (the data controllers) to sub-processors based in Third Countries that are not deemed to have an adequate level of protection for personal data. In addition, data processors can enter into Standard Contractual Clauses with their sub-processors. Previously in Spain, data controllers had to enter into Standard Contractual Clauses with each of their data processors’ sub-processors in Third Countries and data controllers had to obtain authorizations from the SDPA for such transfers.
On February 5th, the European Commission decided to modify the standard contractual clauses for transfers of personal data, repealing the original decision (Decision 2002/87/EU) that introduced these clauses back in 2002. The European Commission considered it necessary to adjust the existing standard contractual clauses to meet the growing challenges of global outsourcing.