On June 30, 2022, the European Data Protection Board published draft guidelines on certification as a tool for transfers.  These guidelines complement the EDPB’s earlier guidelines on certification and identifying certification criteria.

These guidelines and the guidelines on codes of conduct as tools for transfers appear to be part of the EDPB’s broader response to the Schrems II decision issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”), which invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield framework.  The approval of certification schemes expands the toolbox available under Art. 46 GDPR for lawfully transferring personal data outside the EEA.

The guidelines cover the creation of a certification mechanism for data importers, controllers and processors located outside of the EEA, in relation to a single processing operation or a set of operations.  The certification would enable these data importers to demonstrate the existence of appropriate safeguards to address the specific risks associated with personal data transfers from the EEA-based entity.

According to the guidelines, the data exporter in the EEA is responsible for ensuring that the data importer’s certification is effective in light of the characteristics of the intended processing and the law and practices in force in the non-EEA country.  The guidelines specifically mention that the data exporter should verify that there is a contract or another legal binding instrument between the certified data importer and the certification body.

The guidelines explain what is needed to set up such certification schemes.  They also aim to help the Supervisory Authorities in reviewing and assessing certification criteria.

Relatedly, on May 13, 2022, the Luxembourg Supervisory Authority was the first authority to adopt a national GDPR certification mechanism.  Organizations in Luxembourg can obtain this certification to demonstrate that their data processing activities comply with the GDPR.  However, this certification tool is not a transfer mechanism under Art. 46 GDPR-.

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The Covington team will keep monitoring the guidance released by the Supervisory Authorities and the EDPB relating to the CJEU’s Schrems II judgement, and is happy to assist with any inquiries on the topic.

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Photo of Kristof Van Quathem Kristof Van Quathem

Kristof Van Quathem advises clients on information technology matters and policy, with a focus on data protection, cybercrime and various EU data-related initiatives, such as the Data Act, the AI Act and EHDS.

Kristof has been specializing in this area for over twenty…

Kristof Van Quathem advises clients on information technology matters and policy, with a focus on data protection, cybercrime and various EU data-related initiatives, such as the Data Act, the AI Act and EHDS.

Kristof has been specializing in this area for over twenty years and developed particular experience in the life science and information technology sectors. He counsels clients on government affairs strategies concerning EU lawmaking and their compliance with applicable regulatory frameworks, and has represented clients in non-contentious and contentious matters before data protection authorities, national courts and the Court of the Justice of the EU.

Kristof is admitted to practice in Belgium.

Photo of Dan Cooper Dan Cooper

Daniel Cooper is co-chair of Covington’s Data Privacy and Cyber Security Practice, and advises clients on information technology regulatory and policy issues, particularly data protection, consumer protection, AI, and data security matters. He has over 20 years of experience in the field, representing…

Daniel Cooper is co-chair of Covington’s Data Privacy and Cyber Security Practice, and advises clients on information technology regulatory and policy issues, particularly data protection, consumer protection, AI, and data security matters. He has over 20 years of experience in the field, representing clients in regulatory proceedings before privacy authorities in Europe and counseling them on their global compliance and government affairs strategies. Dan regularly lectures on the topic, and was instrumental in drafting the privacy standards applied in professional sport.

According to Chambers UK, his “level of expertise is second to none, but it’s also equally paired with a keen understanding of our business and direction.” It was noted that “he is very good at calibrating and helping to gauge risk.”

Dan is qualified to practice law in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Belgium. He has also been appointed to the advisory and expert boards of privacy NGOs and agencies, such as Privacy International and the European security agency, ENISA.

Photo of Anna Oberschelp de Meneses Anna Oberschelp de Meneses

Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses is an associate in the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.  Anna is a qualified Portuguese lawyer, but is both a native Portuguese and German speaker.  Anna advises companies on European data protection law and helps clients coordinate…

Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses is an associate in the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.  Anna is a qualified Portuguese lawyer, but is both a native Portuguese and German speaker.  Anna advises companies on European data protection law and helps clients coordinate international data protection law projects.  She has obtained a certificate for “corporate data protection officer” by the German Association for Data Protection and Data Security (“Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit e.V.”). She is also Certified Information Privacy Professional Europe (CIPPE/EU) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).  Anna also advises companies in the field of EU consumer law and has been closely tracking the developments in this area.  Her extensive language skills allow her to monitor developments and help clients tackle EU Data Privacy, Cybersecurity and Consumer Law issues in various EU and ROW jurisdictions.