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Transfer Impact Assessment

Transfer Impact Assessments

What is a Transfer Impact Assessment (TIA)?

A transfer impact assessment clarifies your organisation’s risks for transferring EU residents’ data to countries without adequacy under the GDPR. It is a questionnaire that needs to be completed by either party to the data transfer i.e., data importer or data exporter.

It's a process of evaluating the potential effects of transferring personal identifiable information about a policy, programme, or project from one context or location to another. The purpose of a transfer impact assessment is to identify the potential risks and benefits of transferring an initiative, including how it might affect different stakeholders and the broader data management system and how personal data will be safeguarded based on the receiving countries data protection laws.

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TIA's s are now mandatory under EDPB Guidance on Supplementary Measures for data transfers, the June 2021 Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), and the Schrems II decision. A TIA allows for an examination of the specific data transfer as opposed to providing an objective assessment of data transfers to that third country. A TIA must be carried out for each new processing activity which involves data transfers to non-EEA countries not deemed adequate by the European Commission.

When is a Transfer Impact Assessment Needed?

  1. Where an EEA organisation is transferring data to a non-EEA third country that has not been given adequacy by the European Commission.
  2. Where a third country data transfer is safeguarded under SCCs, a TIA is further mandated under Section III of the 2021 SCCs as a component of the local law assessment.

The Benefits of a Transfer Impact Assessment

  1. Ensure GDPR compliance and mitigate against risks associated with a data transfer prior to the transfer/processing beginning.
  2. Determine the likelihood of government access requests in the importing country/third country.
  3. Ensure Compliance with Schrems II.
  4. Once risks have been mitigated against, identify the next steps prior to the processing beginning.
  5. Gain an awareness of data protection legislation and practices within the importing country/third country.
  6. Save time and money in potential fines and legal fees.

Steps to navigate the TIA process

Transfer impact assessments are an important aspect of mergers and acquisitions, where the acquiring company needs to assess the impact of the transaction on the transferred employees
and their respective personal data.

Here are some steps to help you navigate through the transfer impact assessment process:

Identify the scope of the transfer

Before conducting the impact assessment, it is important to understand the scope of the transfer. This includes categories of personal data including, but not limited to identifying the employees who will be transferred, the terms and conditions of their employment, and any legal obligations that may apply.

Consult with employee representatives:

If there are employee representatives, it is important to consult with them to understand their concerns and ensure that their rights are respected.

Assess the impact of the transfer

The impact assessment should cover a range of issues such as job security, terms and conditions of employment, pensions, and redundancy arrangements. Additionally, it should consider jurisdictional evaluation and ensure safeguarding measures are in place prior to personal data being transferred. It should also consider the impact on the wider community, such as any potential loss of skills or expertise.

Develop a plan to address any negative impacts

If the impact assessment identifies any negative impacts, it is important to develop a plan to address these. This could include offering additional support to affected employees or providing training and development opportunities to help them adapt to their new roles.

Communicate with affected employees

It is important to communicate with affected employees throughout the transfer process, and to provide them with clear and accurate information about what the transfer will mean for them. This can help to reduce anxiety and uncertainty and ensure a smooth transition.

Monitor and review the impact of the transfer

Finally, it is important to monitor and review the impact of the transfer on an ongoing basis. This can help to identify any further issues that need to be addressed and ensure that the transition remains as smooth as possible.

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In addition to these steps, it is also important to ensure that the transfer impact assessment is carried out in compliance with any relevant laws and regulations, such as the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) in the UK.

By following these steps and seeking expert advice where necessary, you can ensure that your
transfer impact assessment is conducted thoroughly and effectively, and that you are able to manage the impact of the transfer on your employees in a fair and compassionate way.

The assessment typically involves a comprehensive analysis of the context and conditions of both the source and target locations, as well as the key features of the initiative being transferred. This includes examining the underlying assumptions, goals, and objectives of the initiative, as well as the mechanisms and processes for implementing and managing it.

The transfer impact assessment may also consider issues related to social, economic, cultural, and political factors that could influence the success or failure of the transfer. For example, the assessment may look at the capacity of local institutions and actors to effectively implement and sustain the initiative, as well as the potential for conflicts or tensions to arise among different groups.

Overall, the transfer impact assessment is a critical tool for ensuring that personal data and its associated policy, programme, or project transfers are conducted in a way that maximises positive outcomes and minimises potential negative impacts of individual’s personal data.

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Transfer Impact Assessment Feature by PrivacyEngine

You can use the Questionnaire feature on PrivacyEngine to send the TIA questionnaire out to third parties engaged in the data transfer. This can be either the data importer or data exporter. Based on the responses to the questionnaire, you can begin planning next steps. To learn more about PrivacyEngine's TIA process, simply schedule a call here.