Article 49
Derogations for specific situations

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(111) Provisions should be made for the possibility for transfers in certain circumstances where the data subject has given his or her explicit consent, where the transfer is occasional and necessary in relation to a contract or a legal claim, regardless of whether in a judicial procedure or whether in an administrative or any out-of-court procedure, including procedures before regulatory bodies. Provision should also be made for the possibility for transfers where important grounds of public interest laid down by Union or Member State law so require or where the transfer is made from a register established by law and intended for consultation by the public or persons having a legitimate interest. In the latter case, such a transfer should not involve the entirety of the personal data or entire categories of the data contained in the register and, when the register is intended for consultation by persons having a legitimate interest, the transfer should be made only at the request of those persons or, if they are to be the recipients, taking into full account the interests and fundamental rights of the data subject.

(112) Those derogations should in particular apply to data transfers required and necessary for important reasons of public interest, for example in cases of international data exchange between competition authorities, tax or customs administrations, between financial supervisory authorities, between services competent for social security matters, or for public health, for example in the case of contact tracing for contagious diseases or in order to reduce and/or eliminate doping in sport. A transfer of personal data should also be regarded as lawful where it is necessary to protect an interest which is essential for the data subject's or another person's vital interests, including physical integrity or life, if the data subject is incapable of giving consent. In the absence of an adequacy decision, Union or Member State law may, for important reasons of public interest, expressly set limits to the transfer of specific categories of data to a third country or an international organisation. Member States should notify such provisions to the Commission. Any transfer to an international humanitarian organisation of personal data of a data subject who is physically or legally incapable of giving consent, with a view to accomplishing a task incumbent under the Geneva Conventions or to complying with international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts, could be considered to be necessary for an important reason of public interest or because it is in the vital interest of the data subject.

(113) Transfers which can be qualified as not repetitive and that only concern a limited number of data subjects, could also be possible for the purposes of the compelling legitimate interests pursued by the controller, when those interests are not overridden by the interests or rights and freedoms of the data subject and when the controller has assessed all the circumstances surrounding the data transfer. The controller should give particular consideration to the nature of the personal data, the purpose and duration of the proposed processing operation or operations, as well as the situation in the country of origin, the third country and the country of final destination, and should provide suitable safeguards to protect fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons with regard to the processing of their personal data. Such transfers should be possible only in residual cases where none of the other grounds for transfer are applicable. For scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes, the legitimate expectations of society for an increase of knowledge should be taken into consideration. The controller should inform the supervisory authority and the data subject about the transfer.

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(58) Whereas provisions should be made for exemptions from this prohibition in certain circumstances where the data subject has given his consent, where the transfer is necessary in relation to a contract or a legal claim, where protection of an important public interest so requires, for example in cases of international transfers of data between tax or customs administrations or between services competent for social security matters, or where the transfer is made from a register established by law and intended for consultation by the public or persons having a legitimate interest; whereas in this case such a transfer should not involve the entirety of the data or entire categories of the data contained in the register and, when the register is intended for consultation by persons having a legitimate interest, the transfer should be made only at the request of those persons or if they are to be the recipients;

The GDPR

The derogations provided for by the Directive have been maintained and developed in Article 49 of the Regulation. Subject to several adaptations, the derogations already covered by Directive are set out here, such as:

- the explicit consent of the data subject for the transfer (a). Since this derogation is based on consent, the commented provision requires the controller to obtain the “explicit” consent of the data subject to the proposed transfer, after having been informed of the possible risks of such transfers for the data subject due to the absence of an adequacy decision and appropriate safeguards;

- when the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract between the data subject and the controller or the implementation of pre-contractual measures taken at the data subject's request (b);

- when the transfer is necessary for the conclusion or performance of a contract concluded in the interest of the data subject between the controller and another natural or legal person (c);

- when the transfer is necessary for important reasons of public interest (d). Recital 112 provides several examples of data transfer needed for important reasons of general interest: in case of international exchange of data between competition authorities, tax or customs administrations, between financial supervisory authorities, between services responsible for matters of social security or public health. In this regard, article 49 (4) specifies that the general interest justifying the transfer must be recognized by the EU law or the national law of the Member State of the controller;

- when the transfer is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims (e);

- when the transfer is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of other persons, where the data subject is physically or legally incapable of giving consent (f). The derogation relating to the vital interests of the data subject, now also seeks the protection of vital interest of others.

- when the transfer is made from a register which according to Union or Member State law is intended to provide information to the public and which is open to consultation either by the public in general or by any person who can demonstrate a legitimate interest. The consultation conditions must be met in compliance with the Union or Member State law (g). Paragraph 2 restricts the data that can be subject of a transfer in this case. Such transfer shall not involve the entirety of the personal data or entire categories of the personal data contained in the register.  Finally, where the register is intended for consultation by persons having a legitimate interest, the transfer shall be made only at the request of those persons or if they are to be the recipients.

The essential innovation of Article 49 is the introduction of a new derogation based on the need for the transfer for the purpose of compelling legitimate interests pursued by the controller or the processor; resorting to this derogation is however strictly controlled.

To invoke this derogation, the transfer

- cannot be based on Articles 45 (adequate level of protection) or 46 (sufficient safeguards) including those related to the binding corporate rules (Article 47) or any other derogations referred to in Articles 49 (1), a) to f);

- must not be repetitive, concerns only a limited number of data subjects, which means to take into consideration the amount of personal data and the number of data subjects and to consider whether the transfer is carried out on an occasional or regular basis.

- must be necessary in the pursuit of “incontestable” legitimate interests of the controller which are not overridden by the interests or rights and freedoms of the data subject;

- the controller or the processor has assessed all the circumstances surrounding the data transfer and has on the basis of that assessment provided suitable safeguards with regard to the protection of personal data. This means that the controller should take into consideration the nature of the data, the purpose and duration of envisaged processing as well as the situation in the country of origin, in the third country and the country of final destination and provide appropriate safeguards to protect fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons. The final version of the regulation adds that the controller or the processor must document the above assessment and the safeguards taken accordingly (6).

- the controller must not only notify the supervisory authority of said transfer but must also provide additional information to the data subjects regarding the compelling interests that justify the transfer of their data, in addition to the information referred to in articles 13 and 14.

It should be noted that the derogations based on the consent of the data subject, on the contractual need (that is, the exceptions referred to in articles 49 (1) (b) and (c), as well as on compelling legitimate interests of the controller, are not applicable to the activities of the public authorities in the exercise of their prerogative of public power (paragraph 3).

Finally, according to paragraph 5, in the absence of an adequacy decision, Union or Member State law may, for important reasons of public interest, expressly set limits to the transfer of specific categories of personal data to a third country or an international organization.

The Directive

Article 26 of the Directive formulated six exceptions to the prohibition to transfer data to a third country not providing an adequate level of protection. They addressed limited cases presenting risks normally mitigated for the data subject, taking account of the primacy of the public interest or that of the data subject over data protection. According to the Article 29 Working Party, resorting to these exemptions should be the ultimate solution only, when no other provision was made to allow the transfer (G29, Working Document of 24 July 1998, Transfers of Personal Data to Third Countries: Application of Articles 25 and 26 of the Directive on the Data Protection, WP 12). 

These exemptions addressed the following cases: when the data subject had given his explicit consent to the transfer; when the transfer was necessary in the context of a contract or a legal action; when the protection of an important public interest demanded it; or for recognition, exercise or defence of a legal right, for example in the case of international exchange of data between tax or customs administrations or between services competent for social security; when the transfer was necessary to protect the vital interest of the data subject, or when the transfer was made from a register established by law and intended to be viewed by the public or by persons who can prove a legitimate interest.

These exceptions were subject to a strict interpretation, as advocated by the Article 29 Working Party in its Working Paper No. 114 on a common interpretation of the provisions of Article 26 (1) of Directive 95/46/EC of 24 October 1995 adopted on 25 November 2005, as after their transfer, these have no protection.

Potential issues

Article 49 contains the traditional exceptions, already implemented by the Directive. The provision, in admitting an exception to the prohibition of transfer on the basis of indisputable legitimate interests of the controller, is also aimed to facilitate the admission of exceptional transfers to third countries without an adequate level of protection, while safeguarding the rights of the data subject. It could be particularly useful in the event that the data is transferred to a processor outside the EU.

Regulation
1e 2e

Art. 49

1.   In the absence of an adequacy decision pursuant to Article 45(3), or of appropriate safeguards pursuant to Article 46, including binding corporate rules, a transfer or a set of transfers of personal data to a third country or an international organisation shall take place only on one of the following conditions:

a) the data subject has explicitly consented to the proposed transfer, after having been informed of the possible risks of such transfers for the data subject due to the absence of an adequacy decision and appropriate safeguards;

b) the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract between the data subject and the controller or the implementation of pre-contractual measures taken at the data subject's request;

c) the transfer is necessary for the conclusion or performance of a contract concluded in the interest of the data subject between the controller and another natural or legal person;

d) the transfer is necessary for important reasons of public interest;

e) the transfer is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims;

f) the transfer is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of other persons, where the data subject is physically or legally incapable of giving consent;

g) the transfer is made from a register which according to Union or Member State law is intended to provide information to the public and which is open to consultation either by the public in general or by any person who can demonstrate a legitimate interest, but only to the extent that the conditions laid down by Union or Member State law for consultation are fulfilled in the particular case.

 

1st proposal close

Art. 44

1.           In the absence of an adequacy decision pursuant to Article 41 or of appropriate safeguards pursuant to Article 42, a transfer or a set of transfers of personal data to a third country or an international organisation may take place only on condition that:

(a)     the data subject has consented to the proposed transfer, after having been informed of the risks of such transfers due to the absence of an adequacy decision and appropriate safeguards; or

(b)     the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract between the data subject and the controller or the implementation of pre-contractual measures taken at the data subject's request; or

(c)     the transfer is necessary for the conclusion or performance of a contract concluded in the interest of the data subject between the controller and another natural or legal person; or

(d)     the transfer is necessary for important grounds of public interest; or

(e)     the transfer is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; or

(f)      the transfer is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another person, where the data subject is physically or legally incapable of giving consent; or

(g)     the transfer is made from a register which according to Union or Member State law is intended to provide information to the public and which is open to consultation either by the public in general or by any person who can demonstrate legitimate interest, to the extent that the conditions laid down in Union or Member State law for consultation are fulfilled in the particular case; or

(h)     the transfer is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or the processor, which cannot be qualified as frequent or massive, and where the controller or processor has assessed all the circumstances surrounding the data transfer operation or the set of data transfer operations and based on this assessment adduced appropriate safeguards with respect to the protection of personal data, where necessary.

2.           A transfer pursuant to point (g) of paragraph 1 shall not involve the entirety of the personal data or entire categories of the personal data contained in the register. When the register is intended for consultation by persons having a legitimate interest, the transfer shall be made only at the request of those persons or if they are to be the recipients.

3.           Where the processing is based on point (h) of paragraph 1, the controller or processor shall give particular consideration to the nature of the data, the purpose and duration of the proposed processing operation or operations, as well as the situation in the country of origin, the third country and the country of final destination, and adduced appropriate safeguards with respect to the protection of personal data, where necessary.

4.           Points (b), (c) and (h) of paragraph 1 shall not apply to activities carried out by public authorities in the exercise of their public powers.

5.           The public interest referred to in point (d) of paragraph 1 must be recognised in Union law or in the law of the Member State to which the controller is subject.

6.           The controller or processor shall document the assessment as well as the appropriate safeguards adduced referred to in point (h) of paragraph 1 of this Article in the documentation referred to in Article 28 and shall inform the supervisory authority of the transfer.

7.           The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 86 for the purpose of further specifying 'important grounds of public interest' within the meaning of point (d) of paragraph 1 as well as the criteria and requirements for appropriate safeguards referred to in point (h) of paragraph 1.

2nd proposal close

Art. 44

1. In the absence of an adequacy decision pursuant to paragraph 3 of  Article 41,or of appropriate safeguards pursuant to Article 42, including binding corporate rules (...), a transfer or a category of transfers of personal data to (...) a third country or an international organisation may take place only on condition that:

(a) the data subject has explicitly consented to the proposed transfer, after having been informed that such transfers may involve risks for the data subject due to the absence of an adequacy decision and appropriate safeguards; or

(b) the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract between the data subject and the controller or the implementation of pre-contractual measures taken at the data subject's request; or

(c) the transfer is necessary for the conclusion or performance of a contract concluded in the interest of the data subject between the controller and another natural or legal person; or

(d) the transfer is necessary for important reasons of public interest; or

(e) the transfer is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; or

(f) the transfer is necessary in order to protect the vital interest of the data subject or of other persons, where the data subject is physically or legally incapable of giving consent; or

(g) the transfer is made from a register which according to Union or Member State law is intended to provide information to the public and which is open to consultation either by the public in general or by any person who can demonstrate a legitimate interest but only to the extent that the conditions laid down in Union or Member State law for consultation are fulfilled in the particular case; or

(h) the transfer, which is not large scale or frequent, is necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the controller which are not overridden by the interests or rights and freedoms of the data subject and where the controller (...) has assessed all the circumstances surrounding the data transfer operation or the set of data transfer operations and (...) based on this assessment adduced suitable safeguards with respect to the protection of personal data.

2. A transfer pursuant to point (g) of paragraph 1 shall not involve the entirety of the personal data or entire categories of the personal data contained in the register. When the register is intended for consultation by persons having a legitimate interest, the transfer shall be made only at the request of those persons or if they are to be the recipients.

3.(...)

4. Points (a), (b), (c) and (h) of paragraph 1shall not apply to activities carried out by public authorities in the exercise of their public powers.

5. The public interest referred to in point (d) of paragraph 1 must be recognised in Union law or in the national law of the Member State to which the controller is subject. (...)

5a. In the absence of an adequacy decision, Union law or Member State law may, for important reasons of public interest, expressly set limits to the transfer of specific categories of personal data to a third country or an international organisation. Member States shall notify such provisions to the Commission.

6. The controller or processor shall document the assessment as well as the suitable safeguards (...) referred to in point (h) of paragraph 1 in the records referred to in Article 28 (...).

6a. (...)

7. (...)

Directive close

Art. 26

1. By way of derogation from Article 25 and save where otherwise provided by domestic law governing particular cases, Member States shall provide that a transfer or a set of transfers of personal data to a third country which does not ensure an adequate level of protection within the meaning of Article 25 (2) may take place on condition that:

(a) the data subject has given his consent unambiguously to the proposed transfer; or

(b) the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract between the data subject and the controller or the implementation of precontractual measures taken in response to the data subject's request; or

(c) the transfer is necessary for the conclusion or performance of a contract concluded in the interest of the data subject between the controller and a third party; or

(d) the transfer is necessary or legally required on important public interest grounds, or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; or

(e) the transfer is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject; or

(f) the transfer is made from a register which according to laws or regulations is intended to provide information to the public and which is open to consultation either by the public in general or by any person who can demonstrate legitimate interest, to the extent that the conditions laid down in law for consultation are fulfilled in the particular case.

2. Without prejudice to paragraph 1, a Member State may authorize a transfer or a set of transfers of personal data to a third country which does not ensure an adequate level of protection within the meaning of Article 25 (2), where the controller adduces adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of the privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals and as regards the exercise of the corresponding rights; such safeguards may in particular result from appropriate contractual clauses.

3. The Member State shall inform the Commission and the other Member States of the authorizations it grants pursuant to paragraph 2.

If a Member State or the Commission objects on justified grounds involving the protection of the privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, the Commission shall take appropriate measures in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 31 (2).

Member States shall take the necessary measures to comply with the Commission's decision.

4. Where the Commission decides, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 31 (2), that certain standard contractual clauses offer sufficient safeguards as required by paragraph 2, Member States shall take the necessary measures to comply with the Commission's decision.

Processing of personal data in case of emergency

§ 10 DSG

(1) In case of emergency, public-sector controllers and relief organisations shall be authorised to jointly process data to the extent that this is necessary to assist persons directly affected by a disaster, to locate and identify missing or deceased persons and to provide information to their relatives.

(2) Anybody who lawfully possesses personal data shall be permitted to transfer these data to public-sector controllers and relief organisations if these controllers and organisations need this personal data to manage a disaster for the purposes specified in para. 1.

(3) The transfer abroad of personal data is permitted insofar as this is absolutely necessary to fulfil the purposes mentioned in para. 1. Data that by themselves would make the data subject liable to criminal prosecution shall not be transferred unless they are absolutely necessary for identification in a particular case. The Data Protection Authority shall be informed immediately about the data transfers performed and about the circumstances of the motivating incident. The Data Protection Authority shall prohibit further data transfers if the interference with the fundamental right to data protection resulting from the data transfer is not justified by the special circumstances caused by a disaster.

(4) Based on a specific inquiry of a close relative of a person who has actually or presumably been directly affected by a disaster, controllers are authorised to transfer to the inquiring person personal data regarding the whereabouts of the data subject and on the progress of the search, if the relative satisfactorily demonstrates his or her identity and close relationship to the data subject.

Special categories of personal data (Article 9 of the General Data Protection Regulation) may be transferred to close relatives only if they prove their identity and their capacity as a relative and if the transfer is necessary to safeguard their rights or the rights of the data subject. The social insurance agencies and authorities are obliged to assist the public-sector controllers and relief organisations if this is necessary to verify the information provided by the inquiring person.

(5) Close relatives pursuant to this provision means parents, children, spouses, registered partners and companions in life of the data subjects. Other relatives may receive the aforementioned information under the same conditions as close relatives if they satisfactorily demonstrate a special close relationship to the person actually or presumably directly affected by a disaster.

(6) The personal data processed for the purposes of managing a disaster shall be deleted immediately if they are no longer required to fulfil the specific purpose.

Old law close

In force until May 25, 2018:


Abroad Transmission and Committing of Data Subject to Licensing​ (Prior Approval)

§ 13 DSG 2000

(1) Insofar as a case of data exchange is not exempted from authorisation according to § 12, the controller has to apply for a permit by the Data Protection Authority (§ 35) before the transmission or committing. The Data Protection Authority can issue the permit subject to conditions and obligations.

(2) The permit shall be given, taking into consideration the promulgations pursuant to § 55 sub-para. 2, if the requirements of § 12 para. 5 are met, and despite the lack of an adequate general level of data protection in the recipient state

1. an adequate level of data protection exists for the transmission or committing outlined in the application for the permit in this specific case; this is then to be judged considering all circumstances relevant to the use of data, such as the type of data used, the purpose and duration of use, the country of origin and final destination as well as the general and sectoral legal provisions, professional rules and security standards applying in the third country; or

2. the controller can satisfactorily demonstrate that the interests in secrecy deserving protection of the data subject of the planned data exchange will be respected outside of Austria. In particular, contractual guarantees by the recipient as well as unilateral declarations by the applicant (§ 19 para 2) in the application for permit about the more detailed circumstances of the use of data abroad are significant for the decision. Unilateral declarations by the applicant become legally binding for him upon registration by the Data Protection Authority.

(3) In the case of data applications subject to notification, the Data Protection Authority shall put a copy of each ruling authorising the transmission or committing of data on the notification file and enter the fact that authorisation has been granted into the Data Processing Register (§ 16).

(4) Deviating from para. 1, a domestic processor can apply for a permit if, in order to fulfil his contractual duties vis-á-vis multiple controllers, he wishes to enlist the service of a specific processor outside of Austria. The actual committing shall only be performed with the consent of the controller. The controller shall report to the Data Protection Authority from which of his data applications subject to notification the authorised committing to the processor shall take place; this is to be entered into the Data Processing Register.

(5) The transmission of data to representations of foreign governments or intergovernmental institutions in Austria shall be treated as data exchange with regard to the requirement for authorisation according to para. 1.

(6) If the Federal Chancellor has decreed by ordinance that, despite the lack of an adequate general level of data protection in the recipient state, the requirements according to para. 2 sub-para. 1 are met for specific categories of data exchange with this recipient state, the obligation to obtain a permit is replaced by an obligation to notify the Data Protection Authority. The Data Protection Authority shall prohibit the notified data exchange within six weeks after receiving the notification if it is not attributed to one of the categories regulated in the ordinance or if it does not fulfil the requirements according to § 12 para. 5; otherwise the transmission or committing is permitted.

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