CIPL Submits Comments to Article 29 WP's Updated BCR Working Documents
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On January 18, 2018, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership (“CIPL”) at Hunton & Williams LLP submitted formal comments to the Article 29 Working Party (the “Working Party”) on its updated Working Documents, which include a table with the elements and principles found in Binding Corporate Rules (“BCRs”) and Processor Binding Corporate Rules (the “Working Documents”). The Working Documents were adopted by the Working Party on October 3, 2017, for public consultation.

In its comments, CIPL recommends several changes or clarifications the Working Party should incorporate in its final Working Documents.

Comments Applicable to Both Controller and Processor BCRs

  • The Working Documents should clarify that, with respect to the BCR application, providing confirmation of assets to pay for damages resulting from a BCR-breach by members outside of the EU does not extend to fines under the GDPR. Additionally, the Working Party should clarify that access to sufficient assets, such as a guarantee from the parent company, is sufficient to provide valid confirmation.
  • The Working Document should confirm that bringing existing BCRs in line with the GDPR requires updating the BCRs in line with the Working Documents and sending the updated BCRs to the respective supervisory authority.
  • The Working Party should clarify that companies currently in the process of BCR approval through a national mutual recognition procedure should be treated the same as fully approved BCRs, and must simply update the BCRs in line with the GDPR.

Comments Applicable to BCR Controllers (“BCR-C”) Only

  • The Working Party should clarify that companies with approved BCR-C do not have to implement additional controller-processor contracts reiterating the processors’ obligations under Article 28(3) of the GDPR with respect to internal transfers between controllers and processors within the same group of companies.
  • The Working Party should also clarify that BCRs only need to include the requirement that individuals benefitting from third-party beneficiary rights be provided with the information as required by Article 13 and 14 of the GDPR. The BCRs do not need to restate the actual elements of these provisions.

Comments Applicable to BCR Processors Only

  • The Working Documents should emphasize that an individual’s authority to enforce the duty of a processor to cooperate with the controller is limited to situations where cooperation is required to allow the individual to exercise their rights or to make a complaint.
  • The Working Party should remove the requirement that processors must open their facilities for audit, and clarify that the completion of questionnaires or the provision of independent audit reports are sufficient to meet the requirements of Article 28(3)(h). Furthermore, the Working Documents should make clear that certifications can be used in accordance with Article 28(5) to demonstrate compliance with Article 28(3)(h).

General BCR Recommendations

  • The Working Party should clarify that BCR-approved companies are deemed adequate and transfers between two BCR-approved companies (either controllers or processors) or transfers from any controller (not BCR-approved) to a BCR-approved controller are permitted.
  • The status for existing and UK-approved BCRs post-Brexit should be clarified, along with the future role of the UK ICO with regard to BCRs and the situation for new BCR applications post-Brexit.
  • The Working Party should highlight the importance of BCR interoperability with other transfer mechanisms, and propose that the EU Commission consider and promote such interoperability through appropriate means and processes.
  • The Working Party should recommend the EU Commission consider third-party BCR approval by approved certification bodies or “Accountability Agents” and/or a self-certified system for BCRs, which would streamline the BCR approval process and facilitate faster processing times.

To read the above recommendations in more detail, along with all of CIPL’s other recommendations on BCRs, view the full paper.

CIPL’s comments were developed based on input by the private sector participants in CIPL’s ongoing GDPR Implementation Project, which includes more than 90 individual private sector organizations. As part of this initiative, CIPL will continue to provide formal input about other GDPR topics the Working Party prioritizes.


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