U.S.-EU Data Transfer Framework Signals Strengthened Collaboration

*This article first appeared on Law360 on October 14, 2022

A series of coordinated announcements on Oct. 7 lifted the veil on a new trans-Atlantic data transfer mechanism.

This announcement has been hotly anticipated since a joint declaration from the U.S. and European Union governments on March 25, that there was an agreement in principle for a new EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework.

The key document in the framework process is Executive Order No. 14086 on enhancing safeguards for U.S. signals intelligence activities, accompanied by a detailed fact sheet on the executive order.

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Third Time’s a Charm? Privacy Shield Agreement Reached In Principle

The U.S. President and European Commission President announced in a joint press statement on March 25th, 2022 that an agreement “in principle” has been reached on a new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework (Privacy Shield Agreement 2.0). Once approved and implemented, the agreement would facilitate the transatlantic flow of personal data and provide an alternative data transfer mechanism (in addition to EU Standard Contractual Clauses and Binding Corporate Rules) for companies transferring personal data from the EU to the U.S. This is a welcome announcement for companies that have been dealing with the legal uncertainty of such data flows following the Schrems II decision in July 2020, which invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield 1.0 for international transfers of personal data.

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Data Protection in Financial Services Week 2022

WEBINAR

From February 28-March 3, Sidley and OneTrust DataGuidance hosted their annual Data Protection in Financial Services (DPFS) Week, a series of webinars looking at the impacts of data privacy across the financial sector. Industry speakers covered a range of issues including:

  • How the latest privacy and cybersecurity developments in Europe and the U.S. have impacted financial services
  • How new and existing privacy and cyber requirements intersect with finance-specific regulation
  • What financial organizations can do to keep ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving data privacy and cyber landscape
  • How to deal with and manage the key issues for 2022, such as AI, data governance, and international transfers

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Governance of Data Innovation: Risks and Rewards for Business – Key Takeaways from our Discussion with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office

On September 21, 2021, Sidley partners Alan Raul and William Long engaged in a fireside chat with Elizabeth Denham and Claudia Berg of the United Kingdom (UK) Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Elizabeth Denham is due to end her five-year tenure as UK Information Commissioner on October 31, 2021. Claudia Berg is the ICO’s General Counsel. The webinar entitled “Governance of Data Innovation: Risks and Rewards for Business” touched on the crucial issues in data protection and cyberlaw including the future of international data transfers, emerging technologies, and Brexit. Please see below our “10 Key Takeaways” from this fascinating and timely discussion.

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Switzerland Recognizes New EU Standard Contractual Clauses and Issues Guidance on International Data Transfers

On August 27, 2021, the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) formally recognized the new EU Standard Contractual Clauses published by the European Commission on June 4, 2021 (New SCCs). The New SCCs are intended to legitimize transfers of personal data from Switzerland to countries not deemed by the FDPIC as providing an adequate level of protection for personal data (cf. official statement) — thereby completing its guidance on international data transfers published on June 18, 2021. The aim of these documents is to reduce uncertainties in a post-Schrems II era and to help companies ensure the ongoing lawful transfer of personal data.

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Sidley Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable

Please join Sidley’s Privacy and Cybersecurity Group for a two-part discussion with UK government officials with a focus on data transfer and innovation.

UK Data Protection and Data Transfers – New Directions

In this Chatham House discussion, our panelists will cover:

  • Data Transfers to the U.S. and Developments on “Adequacy”
  • G7 and OECD Data Protection Initiatives
  • UK Regulation of Data and Promotion of Innovation

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UK Government Publishes UK Approach to International Transfers, Including Data Adequacy

On August 26, 2021, the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) published its mission statement setting out the UK approach to adequacy assessments and international data transfers, alongside a Manual Template and Manual Guidance for undertaking adequacy assessments and an infographic map illustrating ten priority countries forming part of that process. This release forms part of a broader package of measures announced by DCMS to “seize the opportunities of data to boost growth, trade and improve its public services” following the UK’s exit from the EU, which included an announcement that John Edwards (the current New Zealand Privacy Commissioner) is the Government’s preferred nominee to be the next UK Information Commissioner. (more…)

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UK ICO Opens Consultation on Data Transfer Agreements and Guidance

On 11 August 2021, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) launched a public consultation on its draft international data transfer agreement and guidance (Consultation). The Consultation comes two months after the European Commission’s adoption of new EU Standard Contractual Clauses (EU SCCs) and the European Data Protection Board’s publication of the final Schrems II guidance. The EU SCCs do not automatically apply in the UK since its exit from the EU. Moreover, the ICO has not yet formally acknowledged the EU SCCs, i.e., as a valid data transfer mechanism under the UK GDPR.

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NHS’ Plans to Share Patient Records with Third Parties

NHS Digital (the national custodian for health and care data in England) in May 2021, announced a new data sharing initiative called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) service. The launch of the GPDPR could result in the historical medical records of up to 55 million patients in England being shared with third parties.

Although the GP data collection was set to take place as of  July 1, 2021, on June 8, 2021 it was announced that the launch will be postponed to September 1, 2021.

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European Commission Adopts New Standard Contractual Clauses

The European Commission (EC) on June 4, 2021 adopted a new set of Standard Contractual Clauses for international data transfers (New SCCs). The New SCCs take into account the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) decision in Schrems II, requirements under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and according to the EC “address the realities faced by modern business”. In particular, as it relates to companies ongoing Schrems II assessments the New SCCs provide details around the steps an importer should take when subject to a request for disclosure from a public authority, and helpfully confirm that in carrying out the assessment of a third country legal framework the factors which can be taken into consideration.

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