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What was the previous situation?

Since leaving the European Union on 31 January 2020, international transfers of personal data could only take place in certain circumstances

Restricted transfers that are not covered by adequacy regulations (ie data transfers where the recipient is not based in a country with an agreed-to-be adequate level of data protection) have been able to use the ‘old’ EU standard contractual clauses (SCCs) as a safeguard to comply with data protection rules. On 21 March 2022, new safeguards came into force for international transfers of personal data from the UK. 

Changes to restricted transfer requirements

The International Data Transfer Agreement (IDTA) 

The IDTA is effectively the UK’s new equivalent to the EU’s new SCCs. It is a document that businesses can use to safeguard their data transfers out of the UK. It covers, for example, security requirements and measures that businesses use to ensure data is protected. 

The Addendum to the new EU SCCs

The Addendum (which is used by being incorporated into the EU SCCs) is a document that businesses can use in combination with the EU SCCs when transferring data outside of both the EU and the UK. 

Using this method saves users a lot of time, as aspects of the EU SCCs will not need to be repeated to cover transfers from the UK, as they would be if the EU SCCs and IDTA were used. For businesses based exclusively in the UK (ie with no EU presence), however, using the IDTA may have advantages in that users will not have to keep track of changes to the EU SCCs, as they would if using the Addendum. 

Transitional provisions

Although the new IDTA and Addendum came into force on 21 March 2022, transitional provisions mean that data transfers governed by contracts entered into before 21 September 2022 will be able to rely on the ‘old’ UK SCCs until 24 March 2024. After 24 March 2024, the IDTA or the new EU SCCs together with the Addendum will need to be used.

What do these changes mean for businesses?

The introduction of the IDTA and the Addendum is widely appreciated within the legal industry due to the documents being more commercially pragmatic and easier to follow and use than their EU-based predecessors. 

 

For more information on the new provisions, read the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance on international data transfers. If you would like assistance understanding how these new provisions apply to your business, you can Ask a lawyer.


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