The Schrems II case- EU-US data transfers left in question

The European Court of Justice has handed down its highly anticipated ruling in the Schrems II case. The case considered the validity of the EU-US Privacy Shield and the efficacy of Standard Contractual Clauses (“SCC”) as data transfer protection mechanisms.

In this landmark case it was found that the EU Commission’s adequacy decision around the EU-US Privacy Shield framework was invalid. The leaves the mechanism for conducting EU-US data transfers in question. This matter maybe covered by recent discussions between the UK and US around entering into a seperate data sharing agreement. However, in the interim a transitional mechanism is sorely needed alongside guidance for data processors to give clarity to how data sharing between the countries can be regulated and data subjects rights safeguarded.

The SCC regime was affirmed to be valid however, it was suggested that companies and regulators enter into a case by case basis analysis of risk. In particular, it was highlighted that such an assessment should take place where government access to data is mandated. This is a highly topical issue in the US given current efforts to put in place a federal data protection regime.

For more details on the Schrems II case see-

The IAPP

INFORRM

Law firm Bird & Bird

The ICO‘s press release

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