New SCCs and the future of data transfers in the UK

The EU is about to adopt new Standard Contractual Clauses, and a UK-specific set is expected during 2021. By Lore Leitner, Chris Foo and Annabel Loose of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

The Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), which are probably the most relied upon personal data export mechanism, received an overhaul at the end of 2020, albeit in draft form (New SCCs)(1). The New SCCs are an attempt to align the text with ECJ case law of recent years, and take into account the practical reality of transfers in a global economy. Amongst other things, this means a number of additional obligations on organisations. With Brexit, although the New SCC’s will not be applicable to data transfers from the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced that it will issue its own updated SCC’s this year. It remains unclear whether and to what extent these will deviate from their EU equivalents, but there is no doubt that the ICO will conduct a thorough study of the New SCCs when preparing a UK-specific version.

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