Understanding International Data Transfers

Hosted by Jasmine Harrison, Phil Brining, Zara Turner and Joe Kirk.

Understanding International Transfers

Ensuring Compliance with International Data Transfer Regulations

International data transfers have become an essential component of many businesses’ operations, particularly as organisations expand their global reach and access international markets. However, with the growing use of cloud computing and other digital technologies, data protection and privacy issues have become increasingly complex, particularly when it comes to international data transfers.

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on data protection and privacy, with governments and regulators worldwide introducing new laws and regulations aimed at safeguarding individuals’ personal data. The  UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), for instance, has had a significant impact on international data transfers, requiring businesses to ensure that personal data is adequately protected when it is transferred outside of the UK

Under the UK GDPR, organisations must ensure that any international data transfers comply with certain legal requirements. This involves ensuring that the data is transferred to a country that is deemed to have an adequate level of data protection or putting in place appropriate safeguards to protect the data when there is no adequacy decision. These safeguards can include using contractual mechanisms such as the international data transfer agreement or EU SCCs with the UK addendum or,  implementing binding corporate rules.

It is essential for businesses to keep up to date with any changes to data protection laws and regulations, particularly regarding international data transfers. For example, Parliament recently adopted the International Data Transfer Agreement/Addendum, as mentioned above, for international data transfers, which will replace the previous set of clauses and reflect the requirements of the GDPR.

Since the ruling in case law known as ‘Schrems II’ organisations are also required to undertake a transfer risk assessment (TRA) when transferring personal data to a territory that does not have an adequacy decision. TRAs push organisations to understand the data protection laws that govern the country in which the data is being transferred. This allows organisations to highlight and assess any risks that the transfer may pose to the rights and freedoms of their data subjects and the methods to which will mitigate the risks.

Organisations must also consider the technical and organisational measures they need to implement to ensure the security and protection of personal data during international transfers. This includes implementing appropriate encryption and access controls, as well as ensuring that third-party service providers used in the transfer process are also compliant with data protection regulations.

It is crucial for businesses to be aware of the legal requirements and obligations regarding international data transfers, particularly when it comes to the UK GDPR. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in significant fines and legal consequences, as well as damage to the organisation’s reputation.

Moreover, organisations must take into account the ethical implications of international data transfers. They must consider whether the transfer of personal data is necessary and proportionate, and whether it aligns with the organisation’s values and principles.

In conclusion, international data transfers can be complex and challenging, particularly in the context of increasing data protection and privacy regulations. Organisations must ensure that they are aware of the legal requirements and technical considerations involved, and that they are committed to ethical and responsible data handling practices. By taking a proactive approach to international data transfers, organisations can ensure that they are protecting personal data and complying with relevant regulations.

On the Data Protection Made Easy podcast, we understand that navigating the complex world of international data transfers can be daunting. Our support desk team, which includes Joe, Zara, and Jasmine, have extensive experience handling international data transfers and can help organisations ensure compliance with relevant regulations. If you need assistance, please visit our contact us page to get in touch with our support desk team.