France’s highest administrative court (Conseil d’Etat) discussed the issue of personal data on a platform used to book COVID-19 vaccinations and hosted by Luxembourg company AWS Sarl (subsidiary of a company under U.S. law).
Unlike classic “Schrems-II” setup, there is no data transfer to third countries as the data was hosted in data centers located in the EU.
However, the court says that AWS Sarl (being a subsidiary of a company under U.S. law) may be subject to access requests by U.S. authorities based on Article 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or Executive Order 12333. Hence, what the court did is started to examine legal, technical and other safeguards put in place. And came to a conclusion that those were sufficient in this particular case.
So what does it all mean? The fact of data transfer is not always a requirement to bring the discussion to the realm of “Schrems-II” – it is just enough if the EU-based data importer (with EU-based data storages) is a subsidiary of a company incorporated under law of a third country.
It was France. Now, should we expect the same approach to be taken by other member states? Seems EDPB now got some new things to think over to avoid misinterpretations and misalignment between supervisory authorities in different member states.