Data protection: European Commission launches the process towards adoption of the adequacy decision for the Republic of Korea

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the Commission launches the process towards adoption of the adequacy decision for the transfer of personal data to the Republic of Korea. It will cover transfers of personal data to the Republic of Korea’s commercial operators as well as public authorities. If adopted, this decision would provide Europeans with strong protections of their personal data when it is transferred to the Republic of Korea. At the same time, it would complement the EU-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and boost cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Korea as leading digital powers. The trade agreement has led to a considerable rise in bilateral trade of goods and services. Ensuring the free flow of personal data to the Republic of Korea through an adequacy decision based on a high level of data protection will support this trade relationship worth nearly € 90 billion.

The draft adequacy decision was published and transmitted to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) for its opinion. In the past months, the Commission has carefully assessed the Republic of Korea’s law and practices on personal data protection, including the rules on access to data by public authorities. It concludes that the Republic of Korea ensures an essentially equivalent level of protection to the one guaranteed under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said: “This agreement with the Republic of Korea will improve the protection of personal data for our citizens and support business in dynamic trade relations. It is also a sign of an increasing convergence of data protection legislation around the world. In the digitalised economy, free and safe data flows are not a luxury, but a necessity.”

Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice said: ”Two years ago, we created the world’s largest area of free and safe data flows with Japan. Soon the Republic of Korea should follow – another important partner in East Asia and another big achievement. The Republic of Korea has a strong track record in the area of data protection. The fact that the EU and the Republic of Korea have similar privacy standards is beneficial to both companies and citizens.”

Key elements

In the Republic of Korea, the processing of personal data is governed by the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), which provides similar principles, safeguards, individual rights and obligations as EU law. A major step in the adequacy talks was the recent reform of PIPA, which strengthened the investigatory and enforcement powers of the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC), the independent data protection authority of the Republic of Korea. This reform entered into force in August 2020. It confirms the importance of an independent data protection authority vested with effective powers as a central component of a modern data protection system as well as a key element of the growing international convergence in privacy standards.

As part of the adequacy talks, the two sides also agreed on several additional safeguards that will increase the protection of personal data processed in the Republic of Korea. These safeguards will provide for stronger protection with respect, for example, to transparency, sensitive data and onward data transfers. These rules will be binding and enforceable by the PIPC.

As regards possible access to data by public authorities of the Republic of Korea, in particular for law enforcement and national security purposes, the framework established under the adequacy decision will notably rely on the strong oversight role of the PIPC and facilitate EU individuals’ access to redress.

Next Steps

The Commission is now waiting for the opinion of the EDPB and will seek the approval from a committee composed of representatives of the EU Member States. Only once these two steps are completed, could the Commission proceed to adopt the adequacy decision.

Background

Article 45(3) of the General Data Protection Regulation grants the Commission the power to decide, by means of an implementing act, that a non-EU country ensures “an adequate level of protection”, i.e. a level of protection for personal data that is essentially equivalent to the level of protection within the EU. The effect of adequacy decisions is that personal data can flow from the EU (and Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) to that third country without any further safeguard being necessary. In others words, transfers to the country in question will be assimilated to intra-EU transmissions of data.

As announced in January 2017 in its Communication on Exchanging and Protecting Personal Data in a Globalised World, the Commission has launched a dialogue with the Republic of Korea with the aim of reaching an adequacy decision under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

An adequacy decision would complement the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Korea that entered into force in July 2011 and was the EU’s first trade deal of this type with an Asian country. Moreover, in 2010, the EU and the Republic of Korea upgraded their broader relationship to a Strategic Partnership by signing a Framework Agreement, which entered into force on 1 June 2014. This is an overarching political cooperation agreement with a legal link to the EU-RoK Free Trade Agreement.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries

4 steps to developing responsible AI

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

5 crises that could worsen under COVID-19

CEOs as activists: should leaders speak up about social causes?

Refugee crisis update: Commission is struggling alone with little help from EU or G7 leaders

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Albinism, displacement in Central America, family-friendly nations, updates on the Gulf and Darfur

This city is planting a tree for every man, woman and child

Belgium: keep up reforms to increase employment and productivity growth

COVID-19 : Have we learnt any lessons at all from last year?

Our poisonous air is harming our children’s brains

UN human rights chief fears world has grown numb to Syrian carnage

The European Green Deal must be at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery

EU and 15 World Trade Organization members establish contingency appeal arrangement for trade disputes

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

China revisited by the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

Coronavirus: Team Europe continues to deliver with more than €26 billion disbursed in support to partner countries in one year

Thousands returning to Nigeria’s restive Borno state ‘at risk’; UN ‘gravely concerned’

Russia and the West use the same tactics to dismember Ukraine

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

Iraq: Solutions needed ‘urgently’ to quell ongoing violence, break political deadlock

Brexit: No deal without marginalizing the hard Tory Eurosceptic MPs

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

‘Bleakest period yet’ in Occupied Palestinian Territory: UN human rights expert

EU: All economic indicators in free fall

How do we upskill a billion people by 2030? Leadership and collaboration will be key

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

A fairer world requires fairer tech. Here’s why

The world’s coastal cities are going under. Here’s how some are fighting back

The power of digital tools to transform mental healthcare

How has technology changed – and changed us – in the past 20 years?

The European Commission cuts roaming charges. But “it’s not enough”…

What have the banks done to the markets making them unable to bear cheap oil?

These 3 tech visionaries are reinventing the wheelchair

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

Environmental liability rules need revamping

Fall asleep in Vienna, wake up in Paris – Europe’s night trains make a comeback

Human rights champions from across the world receive top UN prize

Young people worldwide can ‘determine the future of migration,’ says UN senior official

From violence to dialogue: as land conflicts intensify, UN boosts efforts to resolve disputes through mediation

How data is transforming the way we care for the ocean

European Fund for Transition to support more workers made redundant

The European Council takes more measures to stem illegal migration

Commission initiates an investigation to decide whether to prolong the steel safeguard measure

What’s the difference between carbon negative and carbon neutral?

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

Illness in health workers: when the caregiver becomes the patient

Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

An entrepreneurial point-of view on tackling the migration crisis and the risks of abolishing Schengen

Victims’ Rights: New Strategy to empower victims

Why the global trade of chemicals is key to COVID-19 recovery

An electric motorbike could help tackle big game poaching. Here’s how

Changing world of work needs new jobs strategy

Same-sex marriages and partnerships should be recognised across the EU

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

To take or not to take – The Indian vaccination dilemma

Coronavirus global response: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to Iraq and new funding

ECB readies itself for extraordinary monetary measures defying Germany

Cross-roads

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: