Cross-Border Data Transfers

Cross-border data transfers refer to the movement of digital information across national borders. This type of transfer is essential for multinational corporations, who send and receive information globally as part of their day-to-day business practices as well as to be able to leverage data for strategic decision-making. Striking a balance between allowing the flow of data and protecting individuals’ privacy rights is a key consideration for these companies. 

Global Regulation of Cross-Border Data Transfers 

Most countries emphasize the importance of respecting data subjects’ rights regardless of geographical boundaries and have legislation regulating cross-border data transfers for their citizens. Some notable examples include:  

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): 
    • Scope: European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) 
    • Key Provisions: GDPR sets strict rules for transferring personal data outside the EU and EEA. It provides mechanisms such as Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs), and approved codes of conduct to ensure lawful cross-border data transfers.
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): 
    • Scope: California, United States 
    • Key Provisions: While the CCPA primarily focuses on the protection of California residents’ privacy rights, it has implications for cross-border data transfers, especially for businesses that handle the personal information of California residents. It has also set the benchmark for federal legislation that is being processed at the moment. 
  • Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL): 
    • Scope: China 
    • Key Provisions: The PIPL introduces comprehensive regulations for the processing of personal information in China. It imposes restrictions on cross-border transfers and requires assessments of the necessity, legitimacy, and compliance with security measures for such transfers. 
  • APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System: 
    • Scope: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies 
    • Key Provisions: CBPR is a framework that facilitates the secure and accountable transfer of personal information among APEC member economies. It establishes a certification process for organizations to demonstrate their commitment to privacy principles during cross-border data flows. 

Best Practices for Cross-Border Data Transfers 

  • Identify a lawful basis for the cross-border transfer of personal data. Common legal bases include the data subject’s consent, the necessity of the transfer for the performance of a contract, or the existence of binding corporate rules. 
  • Implement Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) for intra-organizational data transfers within multinational companies. BCRs set out a company’s global policy regarding the protection of personal data. 
  • Limit the data transferred to that which is strictly necessary for the intended purpose. 
  • Implement robust security measures to safeguard the transferred data from unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction. 
  • Ensure that data subjects are informed about their rights regarding their personal data, including the right to access, rectify, and delete their information. 
  • Understand and comply with the data protection laws of both the exporting and importing jurisdictions. 
  • Conduct Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) to assess and mitigate the risks associated with cross-border data transfers, especially when dealing with sensitive information. 

Protecting Communications Data is Key  

Ensuring that all personal information, including communication records, is safely protected and not open to misuse is an important part of complying with cross-border data transfers. Choosing the right technology solutions to manage electronic communications is therefore vital.    

The LeapXpert Communications Platform maintains a complete record of all conversations between employees and customers to ensure that data privacy and governance standards are met. It not only helps you manage how communication is conducted but also enables you to record and safely store all records – regardless of how complex your communication channels are or the size of your organization.  Book a demo now.