At Beltug, we increasingly receive questions on the balance between business solutions and privacy regulations. We also observe a growing frustration among our members (both private organisations and public institutions), who find themselves in a seemingly impossible situation. On the one hand, the business wants to work with customer-friendly and modern solutions (such as sales software or mailing tools). On the other hand, a DPO must advise against many of these tools, because of the Schrems II decision and the advice from Data Protection authorities to be careful about working with non-EU cloud-based solutions.
In this Debate Room, we had a look at the extent of the issue and the real-life consequences. Amongst others, we came to the conclusion that there is currently no good solution. Even if we convince marketing not to use campaign trackers or MailChimp, we are still faced with O365 and Azure or Google. Clear guidance from the Belgian DPA is required.
In the discussion, it was also observed that not all member states use the same rules to define the territorial scope. Furthermore, what is the situation with EU suppliers that use US solutions to offer their services?
Participants also talked about sourcing and data processing: having DPA guidance and a template would avoid confusion and offer a solid foundation. It would also add to the credibility of the document (and the DPO) towards management and the Board.
Keep in mind this was not a legal discussion; instead, we wanted to try to assess the practical consequences in day-to-day business. After a brief introduction by Prof. Johan Vandendriessche of the University of Ghent, the floor was open for discussion between peers.
The insights we learned will be shared with all Beltug members, and we'll bring the action points to relevant stakeholders in government, both in Belgium and in the EU.
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