International Data Transfers: EU Commission prepares adaptation of all existing adequacy decisions

The European Commission is currently in the process of adaptation of existing decisions on the admissibility of transfers of personal data to countries outside the European Economic Area (so-called third countries). This follows from the agenda (txt) of the Article 31 Committee pursuant to Article 31 of the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC for its meeting on October 3, 2016.

The European Commission is planning a formal decision adapting Decision 2001/497/EC on standard contractual clauses for the transfer of personal data to controllers in third countries and a decision adapting Decision 2010/87/EC on standard contractual clauses for transfer of personal data to processors established in third countries.

In addition, all existing adequacy decisions for the level of data protection in certain third countries shall be adapted. An overview of the current adequacy decisions can be found here.

The now planned adjustments by the European Commission are the consequence of the judgment of the European Court of Justice repealing the Safe Harbor Decision (C-362/14, Schrems). The actual content of the proposed amendments is however not publicly available. The two proposed decisions of the European Commission are not accessible. However, if one considers the judgment of the European Court of Justice, the proposed changes might in particular address the powers of national data protection authorities, which may not be restricted by decisions of the European Commission.

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