Comprehensive Insight into Schrems II: Analysis, Ramifications, and Adoption Checklist

Schrems II is a significant ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that has far-reaching implications for transatlantic data transfers. Here’s a detailed analysis of the ruling along with its ramifications and a checklist for adopting the measures necessitated by Schrems II.



Schrems II is a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) from July 16, 2020. It invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework, which was a mechanism used to transfer personal data from the EU to the U.S., finding it inadequate in ensuring an equivalent level of data protection due to U.S. government surveillance programs. However, the court upheld the validity of Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), another mechanism for transatlantic data transfers, although it emphasized the responsibility of data exporters and importers to assess and ensure an adequate level of protection. This ruling has significant implications for companies engaged in transatlantic data transfers, urging them to reassess and potentially change their data transfer mechanisms to comply with EU data protection laws.


  1. Invalidation of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield:
    • The CJEU invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield on the grounds that the U.S. surveillance programs are incompatible with EU data protection principles, thus deeming the Privacy Shield insufficient in safeguarding EU citizens’ data.
  2. Upholding of Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs):
    • Conversely, the court upheld the validity of Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) but with caveats. It stressed that data exporters and importers must ensure an adequate level of data protection.
  3. Requirement for Adequate Protection:
    • The court emphasized that data transfer mechanisms must ensure an “essentially equivalent” level of protection to that guaranteed within the EU.
  4. Increased Scrutiny and Due Diligence:
    • There is an increased onus on both data exporters and data importers to ensure the adequacy of data protection when utilizing SCCs.


  1. Legal Uncertainty and Compliance Challenges:
    • The ruling creates legal uncertainty and additional compliance challenges for companies engaged in transatlantic data transfers.
  2. Potential Financial Implications:
    • There may be financial implications for businesses as they may need to implement alternative data transfer mechanisms or localize data processing.
  3. Increased Regulatory Scrutiny:
    • Regulatory authorities are likely to increase scrutiny on international data transfers, and companies could face penalties for non-compliance.
  4. Re-evaluation of Data Transfer Mechanisms:
    • Companies may need to re-evaluate and potentially change their data transfer mechanisms to ensure compliance with EU data protection laws.

Checklist for Adopting Schrems II

  1. Assessment of Current Data Transfer Mechanisms:
    • Review and assess current data transfer mechanisms to determine the extent of exposure following the Schrems II ruling.
  2. Legal and Compliance Review:
    • Engage legal and compliance teams to analyze the impact of Schrems II on operations and establish a roadmap for compliance.
  3. Implement SCCs with Additional Safeguards:
    • If utilizing SCCs, ensure that additional safeguards are implemented to guarantee an adequate level of data protection.
  4. Data Transfer Impact Assessment:
    • Conduct a Data Transfer Impact Assessment to identify and mitigate risks associated with data transfers.
  5. Engage with Data Protection Authorities:
    • Engage with relevant data protection authorities for guidance and to ensure compliance with the new requirements.
  6. Monitor Regulatory Developments:
    • Keep abreast of regulatory developments regarding international data transfers, and be prepared to adapt to changing legal frameworks.
  7. Educate and Train Staff:
    • Ensure that staff are educated and trained on the new requirements and implications of the Schrems II ruling.
  8. Review and Update Data Protection Policies:
    • Review and update data protection policies, procedures, and documentation to reflect changes necessitated by Schrems II.
  9. Establish Contingency Plans:
    • Establish contingency plans for potential challenges, such as further legal developments or changes in data transfer mechanisms.
  10. Engage with External Partners and Vendors:
    • Communicate with external partners and vendors to ensure they are also compliant with the new data transfer requirements.

The Schrems II ruling underscores the evolving nature of international data privacy regulations, necessitating vigilant monitoring and adaptation by businesses involved in transatlantic data transfers.