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Determann’s Field Guide to Data Privacy Law

International Corporate Compliance, Third Edition

Lothar Determann

Companies, lawyers, privacy officers and marketing and IT professionals are increasingly facing privacy issues. While information is freely available, it can be difficult to grasp a problem quickly, without getting lost in details and advocacy. This is where Determann’s Field Guide to Data Privacy Law comes into its own – identifying key issues and providing concise practical guidance for an increasingly complex field shaped by rapid change in international laws, technology and society.
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Chapter 2: International data transfers – selecting compliance mechanisms

International Corporate Compliance, Third Edition

Lothar Determann



If your company does not collect, use or process any personal data from other countries, or transfer data to other countries, you can skip this Chapter or save it for later. But, most companies do, either because they have employees, customers, suppliers or other business partners in other jurisdictions, or because their customers, suppliers or other business partners do. Note that you can cause an international data transfer by simply accessing personal data that resides on a server in another country by calling it up to view on a laptop. Because data itself is not tangible, and because “access” does not feel the same as “using” or “processing” to many, business people often overlook such cross border data transfers and corresponding compliance requirements. If your company receives or transfers data internationally, you will probably have to select and implement specific compliance mechanisms – either because you are required to comply with law, because your foreign business partners demand it or because you are responsible for the compliance status of the foreign entities (for example, if they are your company’s subsidiaries). Then, the considerations set forth in this Section will need to be taken into account. In practice, companies tend to agonize over this quite a bit, particularly with respect to European data protection law requirements. That is why the topic receives its own Chapter.


In general, businesses find international activities challenging because they have to understand and comply with requirements of laws, markets,...

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