EDPB Guidelines 05/2021 on the Interplay between the application of Article 3 and the provisions on international transfers as per Chapter V of the GDPR
Adopted on 18 November 2021
Example 3: Processor in the EU sends data back to its controller in a third country
XYZ Inc., a controller without an EU establishment, sends personal data of its employees/customers, all of them non-EU residents, to the processor ABC Ltd. for processing in the EU, on behalf of XYZ. ABC re-transmits the data to XYZ. The processing performed by ABC, the processor, is covered by the GDPR for processor specific obligations pursuant to Article 3(1), since ABC is established in the EU. Since XYZ is a controller in a third country, the disclosure of data from ABC to XYZ is regarded as a transfer of personal data and therefore Chapter V applies.
Example 5: Employee of a controller in the EU travels to a third country on a business trip
George, employee of A, a company based in Poland, travels to India for a meeting. During his stay in India, George turns on his computer and accesses remotely personal data on his company’s databases to finish a memo. This remote access of personal data from a third country, does not qualify as a transfer of personal data, since George is not another controller, but an employee, and thus an integral part of the controller (company A). Therefore, the disclosure is carried out within the same controller (A). The processing, including the remote access and the processing activities carried out by George after the access, are performed by the Polish company, i.e. a controller established in the Union subject to Article 3(1) of the GDPR.
Example 6: A subsidiary (controller) in the EU shares data with its parent company (processor) in a third country
The Irish Company A, which is a subsidiary of the U.S. parent Company B, discloses personal data of its employees to Company B to be stored in a centralized HR database by the parent company in the U.S. In this case the Irish Company A processes (and discloses) the data in its capacity of employer and hence as a controller, while the parent company is a processor. Company A is subject to the GDPR pursuant to Article 3(1) for this processing and Company B is situated in a third country. The disclosure therefore qualifies as a transfer to a third country within the meaning of Chapter V of the GDPR.
Example 7: Processor in the EU sends data back to its controller in a third country
Company A, a controller without an EU establishment, offers goods and services to the EU market. The French company B, is processing personal data on behalf of company A. B re-transmits the data to A. The processing performed by the processor B is covered by the GDPR for processor specific obligations pursuant to Article 3(1), since it takes place in the context of the activities of its establishment in the EU. The processing performed by A is also covered by the GDPR, since Article 3(2) applies to A. However, since A is in a third country, the disclosure of data from B to A is regarded as a transfer to a third country and therefore Chapter V applies.