On October 3, 2022, the UK-U.S. agreement on Access to Electronic Data for the Purpose of Countering Serious Crime (the UK-U.S. Agreement) came into force. The UK and the U.S. governments signed the UK-U.S. Agreement on October 3, 2019 under the U.S. Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act 2018 (“CLOUD Act”). The U.S. government is negotiating similar agreements with the governments of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but notably, not with the European Union.

Continue Reading Does the UK-U.S. agreement under the U.S. CLOUD Act affect UK’s adequacy under the GDPR?

On 17 June 2022, in response to its consultation in 2021 on the same topic (which we wrote about here), the UK government published more detailed proposals to reform data protection laws in the UK. The response to the consultation can be found here. The intention of the reforms is to achieve greater personal data use enabling economic growth by removing barriers and reducing obstacles for organisations whilst maintaining high standards of personal data protection and EU adequacy.

Continue Reading Government releases proposals to reform UK data protection laws

As you might know, the new EU SCCs were published last year. The UK has now issued new templates for data transfers that can be used from 21 March 2022. With the UK templates confirmed and available, many multinational organisations with presence in the EU and the UK are gearing up to transition their contracts to the new templates. There are some deadlines to be aware of, which you will find in the ‘key dates to note’ section below.

The main agreements that organisations will need to focus on as part of their transition programme are:

  • template agreements with customers and vendors on processing personal data;
  • existing agreements with customers and vendors; and
  • existing agreements within the group companies.


Continue Reading Time to change to the new EU and UK Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs)

The arrival of the new EU Standard Contractual Clauses (“EU SCCs”) for international transfers in June 2021 was widely awaited to better understand the new requirements to assess the third-country laws for government access to data prior to using the SCCs following the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (“CJEU”) decision on Schrems II. As a value add, the EU SCCs were updated to reflect the GDPR requirements and also enabled organisations to cover a wider range of data flows than their previous versions due to the addition of ‘processor-to-processor’ and ‘processor-to-controller’ scenarios. Binding Corporate Rules (“BCRs”), another transfer tool available under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), have not yet been updated to reflect the same flexibility in reflecting the diversity of data flows and presently appear to be limited in use in comparison. It is expected that the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) will publish updated BCR requirements in 2022.
Continue Reading So you have got BCRs? You may still need to use the new EU SCCs

On 17 December 2021, the European Commission (the Commission) adopted an adequacy decision for South Korea. This means that free transfers of personal data from the European Economic Area (EEA) to private and public entities in South Korea will be permitted from that date onwards (including remote access from South Korea).

Continue Reading South Korea granted adequacy decision

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) recently adopted Guidelines 05/2021 (the Guidelines) on the interplay between what it means to be outside the European Economic Area (EEA) but directly applicable to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and what constitutes an international transfer under Chapter V of the GDPR.

The Guidelines set out a ‘cumulative’ definition providing a three-step assessment, and each step of the definition needs to be satisfied before a transfer is deemed to be a transfer of personal data. The guidance seeks to address the questions raised by the European Commission (EC) when it issued the standard contractual clauses (SCCs) earlier this year. The main question is whether personal data processed by a company outside the EEA but subject to the GDPR is a transfer or not.

The Guidelines seek to settle that question that such movements of personal data are not transfers. Instead, the Guidelines state the controllers or processors of such personal data, due to their being subject to the GDPR, must apply Chapter V to the personal data they transfer to a third country as if they were located in the EEA. What can be deemed a ‘geographic’ transfer rather than a legal one separately subject to Chapter V. The Guidelines, however, are open for a consultation period, so the question does not have a definitive answer yet.

Continue Reading GDPR: Is it a transfer? Is it not a transfer? It’s EDPB guidance on Chapter V

On 24 September 2021, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) issued its opinion on the European Commission’s (EC) draft adequacy decision in respect of South Korea.

On 16 June 2021, the EC launched the procedure for the adoption of an adequacy decision for South Korea under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which would allow free transfers of personal data from the European Economic Area (EEA) to South Korea’s commercial operators and public authorities.

Overall, the EDPB found the central aspects of South Korea’s data protection framework to be essentially equivalent to the European data protection framework. The EDPB’s review focused on both the general aspects of the GDPR (such as data protection concepts, transparency, data retention and grounds for lawful processing for a legitimate purpose) and also on the local laws allowing access by public authorities to personal data transferred from the EEA for law enforcement and national security purposes. The EDPB also reviewed the Notification adopted by the South Korean data protection authority that was designed to fill gaps between the GDPR and Korean framework (Notification).

Continue Reading South Korea – EDPB adopts an opinion on the Commission’s draft adequacy decision

Today the European Commission issued the new and long-awaited Standard Contractual Clauses, available here (SCCs). These new SCCs contain updates for the GDPR, and replace the three sets of SCCs that were adopted under the previous Data Protection Directive. The SCCs released today include the following modules:

  • Controller to controller transfers,
  • Controller to processor transfers,
  • Processor to processor transfers, and
  • Processor to controller transfers.

The draft SCCs had been open to consultation in December of 2020 (more on our previous blog here). The final drafts issued today will come into effect 20 days after publication on the Official Journal of the European Union, which should be sometime between the 25th and 30th of June 2021.
Continue Reading European Commission issues New Standard Clauses for data transfers outside the EEA: Act within 18 months

On March 12, 2021, the French Council of State (Conseil d’Etat), the highest French administrative court, handed down a ruling (ordonnance des référés) allowing Doctolib, a company in charge of booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments, to rely on a U.S.-based health data host.

In the present case, the servers of Doctolib – whose platform had been entrusted by the French government for booking COVID-19 vaccinations – were hosted by the Luxembourg subsidiary of AWS, a U.S. company. Specifically, in this case, the AWS data was stored in data centers located in the European Union (specifically, in France and Germany).

The French government’s decision to use a platform hosted by the subsidiary of a U.S.-based company raised significant concerns among French associations and trade unions because of the Schrems II decision rendered by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU July 16, 2020, Case C-311/18, Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland Ltd. and Maximilian Schrems), which shed light on the risks that U.S. surveillance laws might pose to data subjects in the event of access requests by U.S. agencies.
Continue Reading Aftermath of Schrems II decision in France: The French Council of State provides significant clarification on the U.S. based data host to provide services in the French health care sector

In this episode, Sarah Bruno and LiLing Poh discuss recent trends as organizations invest more in technology through the acquisition of new platforms or programs, or by working with a vendor to bring a product to market. Exploring a case study involving a global pharmaceutical company on the rollout of a health-related digital app,