International Data Transfer

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International data transfer is the process of exchanging data between different countries or jurisdictions. In an increasingly globalized world where companies and organizations operate worldwide and digital information plays an important role, international data transfer is of great importance.
The transfer of personal data to a third country or an international organization is regulated in Chapter 5 of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Businesses and organizations around the world increasingly rely on the exchange of data, whether for business, collaboration or analytics. However, they face a number of challenges in doing so, particularly in relation to the protection of personal data and compliance with data protection laws. In this article, we take a closer look at international data transfer, the challenges companies face, and solutions and best practices for secure and compliant data exchange across national borders.

Challenges to international data transfer

Different Data Protection Laws: Each country has its own data protection laws and regulations, which can vary significantly in scope and requirements. Companies must ensure that they comply with the legal requirements of both the country from which the data originates (data exporter) and the country to which the data is transferred (data importer).

Appropriate level of data protection: The protection of personal data may vary from country to country. For example, in the European Union (EU), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates a high level of protection, while other countries may have less stringent standards. Companies must ensure that an adequate level of data protection is guaranteed in the destination country in order to carry out the international data transfer.

Insecure third countries: Data transfers to third countries outside the EU can pose a particular challenge. There is a risk that personal data may end up in countries where data protection is not adequately guaranteed. This can lead to legal, ethical and security concerns.

Solutions and best practices

1. Adequacy Decisions: The European Commission may issue adequacy decisions finding that a particular country or sector provides an adequate level of data protection. If a country is determined to be adequate, personal data may be transferred there without additional measures. Companies should check whether such an adequacy finding exists for the destination country.

Currently, the European Commission has issued adequacy decisions for Argentina, Canada, Switzerland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, etc.

2. Standard contractual clauses: Companies may use standard contractual clauses developed by the European Commission to regulate international data transfers. These clauses contain legal obligations to protect personal data and are recognized by data protection authorities as appropriate safeguards. It is important to include these clauses in contracts with data importers.

3. Binding Corporate Rules (BCR): Multinational companies may develop internal privacy policies known as Binding Corporate Rules. These rules provide a legal basis for the transfer of personal data within the corporate group. BCRs must be approved by data protection authorities and ensure that data is protected within the corporate group.

4.Privacy by Design of Technology: Privacy by Design refers to the pseudonymization (replacement of personal information with artificial identifiers) and encryption (coding of messages so that only authorized persons can read them) of data. This security measure, which converts data into an unreadable form, enables the legally compliant transfer of data to a third country such as the USA.

Significance for companies

International data transfer is essential for businesses and organizations today, but it also presents challenges in terms of data protection and legal compliance. By using solutions such as adequacy decisions, standard contractual clauses, binding corporate rules and data protection through technology design, companies can ensure that international data transfers are secure and legally compliant. It is important to keep abreast of current developments in data protection law and to take appropriate measures to ensure the protection of personal data and maintain the trust of data subjects.

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