SIIA Welcomes Advocate General Opinion on Personal Data Transfers

SIIA Policy Contact: Sharon Burk, (202) 789-4480


SIIA Welcomes Advocate General Opinion on Personal Data Transfers

Warns that Maintaining Mechanisms for Data Transfers is Critical to

U.S.-EU and Global Trade


Washington D.C. (December 19, 2019) – The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal association for the software and digital content industries, cautiously welcomed the opinion by the Advocate General’s (AG) opinion in Case C-311/18 Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland Limited, Maximillian Schrems, The opinion finds that standard contractual clauses are a valid mechanism for personal data transfers between the EU and third countries. SIIA remains concerned, however, that the AG opinion would leave the door open for regulators to halt transfers pursuant to these clauses and calls into question the validity of the Privacy Shield as a transfer mechanism (even while advising the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to not decide this issue in the pending case).

SIIA President Jeff Joseph, issued the following statement:

“While SIIA continues to review the opinion by Advocate General Saugmandsgaard
Øe, we are pleased it finds that standard contractual clauses (SCCs) should remain as a valid mechanism for cross-border data transfers. Many U.S. companies, including SIIA members, rely on SCCs to transfer personal data for routine and necessary business purposes. The continued availability of this mechanism is critically important to global trade, transatlantic commerce, and the consumer digital experience.

“We also agree with the AG’s opinion that the ECJ need not render judgment on the validity of the Privacy Shield. Nevertheless, SIIA is concerned with the AG’s non-binding assessment that the Privacy Shield may not be valid should the ECJ address it directly. As SIIA has noted before, the Privacy Shield creates an essential legal and political foundation for the free flow of data across the Atlantic. Nearly 5,000 companies rely on it as a transfer mechanism, the vast majority of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The unfounded disruption of this transfer mechanism could have dire consequences to transatlantic commerce.

“SIIA looks forward to working with policymakers domestically and in Europe to continue to support transfer mechanisms that protect the privacy rights of EU citizens and promote a thriving, competitive, and innovative global economy. Transfer mechanisms, like the Privacy Shield, ensure strong and adequate privacy protection for EU citizens while providing all commercial players, including startups and SMEs, with competitive access to the transatlantic market.”

About SIIA:
SIIA is an umbrella association that represents constituencies from technology, data and media companies. Through in-person and online business development opportunities, peer networking, corporate education, intellectual property protection and government relations, SIIA provides a network for its 800+ member companies that drive innovation and growth. For more information, visit