EU Plans Updates to Data Protection Adequacy Decisions

    Dec 12, 2016

    The European Commission has proposed two draft amendments to strengthen the adequacy decisions of data protection regimes so they can withstand legal challenges. The proposals seek to clarify that the Commission does not have the authority to limit the ability of national data protection authorities to act to prohibit data transfers. The amendments would do so by modifying standard contractual clauses as well as the decisions on the adequacy of data protection regimes in a number of non-EU jurisdictions.

    On November 15, the Commission approved a draft decision to amend previous decisions from 2001 and 2010 on standard contractual clauses for transfers to non-EU countries and on transfers to data processors in non-EU countries. The Commission has the power to decide that certain standard contractual clauses, which are model contracts that companies may adopt to prove their adherence to principles of the EU Data Protection Directive, provide adequate safeguards for the protection of the privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals.

    On the same day, the Commission approved a second draft decision that would amend decisions confirming that the privacy regimes of 11 non-EU countries are adequate to receive the personal data of EU citizens. Those countries are Andorra, Argentina, Canada, the Faroe Islands, Guernsey, Israel, the Isle of Man, Jersey, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Uruguay. No indication has been given as to when the Commission will be finalizing the two draft amendments.

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