Binding corporate rules

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Binding Corporate Rules or "BCRs" were developed by the European Union Article 29 Working Party to allow multinational corporations, international organizations, and groups of companies to make intra-organizational transfers of personal data across borders in compliance with EU Data Protection Law. The BCRs were developed as an alternative to the U.S. Department of Commerce EU Safe Harbor (which was for US organizations only, but has been declared invalid and replaced by the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S Privacy Shield Frameworks) and the EU Model Contract Clauses.

BCRs are required to be approved by the data protection authority in each EU Member State (such as the Information Commissioner's Office in the United Kingdom, CNIL in France, AEPD in Spain, etc.) in which the organization will rely on the BCRs. The EU has developed a mutual recognition process under which BCRs approved by one member state's data protection authority (known as the "lead" authority) and two other "co-lead" authorities, may be approved by the other relevant member states who may make comments and ask for amendments. Other members states, not part of mutual recognition process, will be also involved by the lead authority and will apply their own independent review process within a limited time-frame. The overall process for BCR acceptance takes usually between 6 and 9 months. This time frame does not include the required Data Protection setup, which should be already implemented within the company in order to comply with the current directive and its local implementation.

BCRs typically form stringent, intra-corporate global privacy policies, set of practices, processes and guidelines that satisfy EU standards and may be available as an alternative means of authorizing transfers of personal data (e.g., customer databases, HR information, etc.) outside of Europe.

BCRs should be seen as a framework for having different elements (internal legal agreement, policies, training, audit, etc.) providing compliance with EU data protection regulations and effective privacy and data protection.

It has to be noticed that, while originally designed for providing legal ground to international transfers, BCRs became de facto a corporation demonstration of its capacity to comply "at large" with personal data processing requirements. A corporation having BCRs applies this framework independently of international transfers and should be seen as part of the "Corporate Governance" or "Data Governance"

The Article 29 Working Party issued several guidance documents on BCR content, acceptance criteria and submission process.[1]

BCRs by themselves do not "authorize" all transfers automatically for all EU member states. Most of member states still require a formal "transfer notification" which is normally granted if the BCRs have been accepted by the relevant country.

The following companies have obtained authorizations for BCRs:[2]

In addition, the Article 29 Working Party has introduced guidance for BCRs for processors (also known as Processor BCR, as opposed to the traditional Controller BCR).[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ See http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/privacy/workinggroup/index_en.htm, see in particular documents WP 133, WP 153, WP 154, WP 155 at http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/privacy/workinggroup/wpdocs/2008_en.htm.
  2. ^ European Commission, List of companies for which the EU BCR cooperation procedure is closed,http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/article29/item-detail.cfm?item_id=613841
  3. ^ See Article 29 Working Party's Explanatory Document on the Processor Binding Corporate Rules (April 19, 2013): http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/article-29/documentation/opinion-recommendation/files/2013/wp204_en.pdf and Working Document 02/2012 setting up a table with the elements and principles to be found in Processor Binding Corporate Rules (June 6, 2012): http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/article-29/documentation/opinion-recommendation/files/2012/wp195_en.pdf (last visited November 30, 2012).

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