New SCCs are hot off the (virtual) press. Now's the time to plan, implement the changes in them and, most importantly of course, keep your data flowing.
Who hasn’t during a power cut, out of habit, entered a room and tried to flick on the lights? There’s a tiny delay before you remember there’s no power and you reprimand yourself for being so foolish. Too often, we only notice the electricity that powers our lives when it’s not there. The same could be said with data. The power of it to transform our businesses and the global economy is often taken for granted. But the regulation of data through the likes of the GDPR acts like a massive power switch over such data. The law, and guidance under it, continues to change and, if you’re not careful, it can short-circuit your best-laid plans when you least expect it.
Today, the European Commission published its reinforced standard contractual clauses or SCCs. They update the existing SCCs, which allow for the transfer of data from the EU/EEA to third countries, and businesses have just eighteen months to implement the significant changes in them so they can continue to transfer data as they did before.
In brief, the SCCs have been beefed up in light of the ‘Schrems II’ decision (ie, where the Court of the Justice of the EU invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework, which lots of US businesses used to validate transfers of data to the EU). The changes to the SCCs will be a potential compliance headache for businesses who rely on them as, in addition to the relatively short timeframe to adopt them, there are also more hoops for businesses to jump through as part of this process—this isn’t just a ‘repapering’ exercise.
Companies like Microsoft have already welcomed the new clauses saying they will incorporate the SCCs into their contracts.
Don’t let the lights turn off over your data.
We’ll be looking into the SCCs over the next few days and weeks and working with all of our affected clients to let them know what the next steps are, turning ‘standard contractual confusion’ into insightful and pragmatic guidance on this big change to how data is moved around the globe. In the meantime if you have any questions on the SCCs or would like to chat generally about them, please get in touch.