Standard Contractual Clauses

Definition & Meaning:

Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) are standardized contractual provisions established by data protection authorities, such as the European Commission, to facilitate the transfer of personal data from the European Economic Area (EEA) to countries outside the EEA that do not have adequate data protection laws.

SCCs serve as legal safeguards to ensure that personal data transferred internationally receives an adequate level of protection, consistent with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

They contain contractual obligations and rights for both data exporters and importers, governing personal data processing and protection during international transfers.

For example, suppose you are a European-based company that needs to transfer personal data to a service provider located in a non-EEA country, such as the United States.

In that case, you may use SCCs as a contractual mechanism to ensure that the data is adequately protected during the transfer.

By incorporating SCCs into your contract with the service provider, you establish binding obligations regarding data protection, security measures, and compliance with GDPR principles, regardless of the jurisdiction in which the data is processed.

SCCs are designed to address the requirements of GDPR Article 46, which stipulates that international data transfers must be subject to appropriate safeguards to ensure the protection of personal data.

The European Commission has adopted sets of SCCs for different types of data transfers, including controller-to-controller transfers (e.g., between two organizations) and controller-to-processor transfers (e.g., between an organization and a service provider).

These SCCs contain standard contractual clauses that data exporters and data importers must incorporate into their contracts to ensure compliance with GDPR requirements.

In addition to SCCs, organizations may use other mechanisms to legitimize international data transfers, such as Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) or obtaining explicit consent from data subjects.

However, SCCs are widely used as a practical and efficient means of ensuring compliance with GDPR requirements for international data transfers, especially for smaller organizations or those without a global presence.

When using SCCs, it’s essential to carefully review and tailor the clauses to your specific circumstances and data processing activities.

While SCCs provide a standardized framework for data protection, they may need to be supplemented or modified to address specific risks or legal requirements applicable to your organization and the jurisdictions involved in the data transfer.