While it may seem that the internet has created a truly open and interconnected world, significant legal barriers remain in place, leading to digital borders in cyberspace. From a European perspective, the GDPR prescribes extensive limitations to international transfers of personal data. In particular, EU data exporters must rely on so-called "transfer tools", ensuring that the exported data will receive a level of protection equivalent to that under the GDPR.
For data exports to the US, this transfer tool was provided by the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement. But this agreement was invalidated by the ECJ in its "Schrems II" ruling, creating a legal black hole that sucked in all data transfers across the Atlantic. The ECJ noted, though, that an-other transfer tool is still available for data exports to the US: the standard contractual clauses ("SCCs") issued by the EU Commission.
In June 2021, the EU Commission revised these SCCs. All EU data exporters relying on the old set of SCCs must switch to the new set by 27 December 2022. Before entering into SCCs, how-ever, the parties are required to assess whether laws and practices applicable to the data importer may allow public authorities to access the data. This assessment must be documented and provided to the EU data protection authorities at their request.
Thus, for EU data exporters, a considerable administrative effort is inevitable. At Schoenherr, we are developing legal tech tools that will help our clients to significantly streamline these administrative efforts and safely navigate through the new legal landscape:
- On the one hand, we are developing an online tool that will make the conclusion of the new SCCs as easy as a mouse click.
- On the other hand, we are creating a highly standardised tool for assessing and documenting the local laws and practices in a document called Transfer Impact Assessment ("TIA"). Our TIA approach is designed to create a maximum level of synergy, saving costs and reducing efforts for our clients significantly.
We expect to roll out both tools by end of 2021. Please feel free to reach out if you are interested. In any case, we will keep you up to date in our newsletter!