05 Jul 2023

Enhancing Cross-Border Cooperation: A Proposed Regulation to Strengthen Data Protection Enforcement under the GDPR

On July 4, the EU Commission introduced a new Procedural Regulation aimed at enhancing cooperation among data protection authorities (“DPAs“) when enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR“) in cross-border cases.  The Procedural Regulation focuses on establishing clear guidelines for DPAs handling cases involving individuals in multiple Member States without impacting any substantial elements of the GDPR, including the rights of data subjects, obligations of data controllers and processors, or the lawful grounds for processing personal data.

A notable aspect of the Procedural Regulation is a provision that mandates the lead DPA to share a “summary of key issues” with relevant counterparts.  This summary is intended to outline the main elements of the investigation and provide insights into the lead authority’s stance on the matter, facilitating early input and a unified approach among authorities, thus mitigating the potential for divergent viewpoints.

For individuals, introducing these new rules will shed light on what they need to include in their complaints and ensure they are actively engaged in the process.  Similarly, businesses will better understand their due process rights during DPA investigations into possible GDPR infringements.

The proposal streamlines cross-border complaints, making them easier to pursue by eliminating hindrances that arise from the variance in rules across DPAs.  It also ensures that parties under investigation have a say throughout the process, including during dispute resolution by the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB“).  The proposal clarifies the administrative file’s composition and delineates the parties’ entitlement to access it.  In addition, it enables DPAs to exchange views early in investigations and employ collaborative instruments such as joint investigations and mutual assistance.  The proposal also establishes specific rules to expedite the GDPR’s dispute resolution mechanism and sets standard cross-border cooperation and dispute resolution deadlines.

In essence, the proposed Procedural Regulation fosters a more expeditious and equitable process, facilitating timely investigations and the effective resolution of issues.  Implementing these measures is anticipated to lead to faster case resolution, providing prompt remedies for individuals and instilling a greater degree of legal certainty for all parties involved.