Prague, January 24, 2023 – Some experts in the field of personal data protection are concerned about excessive restrictions on the free flow of personal data, especially between democratic countries, including the EU and the USA, but at the same time agree that excessive benevolence in the transfer of personal data outside the EU is not appropriate. These conclusions emerged from the international online conference that took place on January 23, 2023 in Prague on the occasion of the International Day of Personal Data Protection.
The conference The Future of Data Protection in a Time of Restriction on Data Transfers with the subtitle Will the world be divided into “data fortresses”? was jointly organized by the international organizations IAPP (International Association of Privacy Professionals), EFDPO (European Federation of Data Protection Officers) and the Czech Data Protection Association. It was attended by 120 privacy professionals from several European countries and the USA.
Speakers and panelists were leading experts dealing with personal data protection and human rights from several EU member states. Germany was represented by Dr. Christoph Bausewein, member of the board of the German association of DPOs – BvD, and by Prof. Dr. Katrin Blasek, LL.M., expert on China’s legal system and professor at the Technical University of Brandenburg. France was represented by Pierre-Yves Lastic, EFDPO General Secretary, Austria by Ing. Dr. iur. Christof Tschohl, Executive Director of the Research Institute – Digital Human Rights Center and NYOB Board Member. Speaking for the Czech Republic was Filip Beneš, ROWAN LEGAL attorney and member of the Czech Association for the Protection of Personal Data, and last but not least JUDr. Soňa Matochová from the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection.
The entire conference was moderated by Michal Nulíček, a partner of the law firm ROWAN LEGAL and a member of the Association for the Protection of Personal Data and IAPP. The ROWAN LEGAL law firm also provided organizational and technical support for the event.
During the panel discussion, the participants talked about the risks and benefits of current regulation and practice in the field of transferring personal data between continents. This is a very current topic that worries all companies that today transfer data from the EU to the US in particular – they are not sure whether their current approach is in accordance with the GDPR, but at the same time question marks hang over whether the new decision being prepared by the Commission’s (so-called adequacy decision), which is supposed to clarify the situation, will withstand the expected judicial review of the European courts.
The content of the lectures and the panel discussion also corresponded to this, where part of the participants emphasized the need for clarification of the situation as quickly as possible and clear guidelines for practice when transferring data outside the EU. On the other hand, there were also concerns about high risks for the fundamental rights of European citizens arising from an overly benevolent approach.
“I am glad that we managed to get a very representative group of experts from different EU countries for the conference and the discussion panel. The participants of the conference were able to get acquainted with a wide range of opinions of legal experts on the issue of data transfers – these opinions included both the view of academics and business, data protection officers, representatives of the supervisory authority and, last but not least, representatives of human rights organizations. This diversity greatly contributed to the high level of the entire conference,” said Vladan Rámiš, chairman of the Czech Data Protection Association.
“It is clear that everyone is aware of the need to enforce the basic principles of protecting personal data of Europeans even in a situation where this data is transferred outside the EU. I see differences in how far we should go in promoting these interests, but in any case it is clear that business need clearer guidelines as soon as possible – the current legal uncertainty leads to the fact that all exporters of personal data to the USA are on the edge from a compliance point of view, which is very unfortunate“, added Michal Nulíček, ROWAN LEGAL attorney and member of the Association for the Protection of Personal Data and IAPP.
Also discussed was the realistic achievement of a similar level of personal data protection in third countries, the (im)possibility of taking into account all real risks when transferring data outside the EU, as well as the need to take into account differences in legal terminology and in the understanding of individual legal institutes when negotiating agreements on the free movement of data.
For more information contact: