The Morning Risk Report: Data-Transfer Case Creates New Uncertainty

October 5, 2017Media Mention
The Wall Street Journal

Tim Toohey was quoted in a October 5, 2017, Wall Street Journal article written by Ben DiPietro discussing the decision by Ireland's High Court to refer a data-transfer case involving Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield to the Court of Justice for the European Union (ECOJ). At issue is the validity of the "Standard Contractual Clauses" US companies like Facebook use to transfer EU citizens' personal data from their operations in the European Union. The article notes that an ECOJ decision in the case could be a year or more away.

“Companies shouldn’t panic and should proceed with their present data-transfer agreements,” said Toohey. “This does not have any immediate effect, it’s going to take quite some time.” Toohey continued to say that some large- and medium-sized companies that are tired of this “constant merry-go-round” of changing rules are starting to put in place networks that will localize the data of EU citizens so they “don’t have a data transfer issue at all.” He notes that not all companies will be able to do this.

“It’s also possible the EU will address the issue in the pending General Data Protection Regulation that take effect in May 2018,” said Toohey. “Companies need to be aware the EU is skeptical of data-transfer agreements protecting the privacy of its citizens and that they take this issue very seriously. They need to…understand the sensitivities of Europeans and they need to keep those things in mind as they lobby government officials and other advocates.”