Oct. 19, 2020

Publications : Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Conditions for the legality of a platform managed by an American company hosting European health data​: French Conseil d'Etat decision

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

ComplianceTech ®.Pour lire cette fiche en français, cliquez sur le drapeau français

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Conditions for the legality of a platform managed by an American company hosting European health data​: French Conseil d'Etat decisionNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 19th of October 2020

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News Summary: In its ordinance of 13th of October 2020, Conseil national du logiciel libre (called Health Data Hub), the Conseil d'Etat (French Administrative Supreme Court) has determined the legal rules governing the possibility to give the management of sensitive data on a platform to a non-europeans firm, through the specific case of the decree and of the contract by which the management of the platform centralizing health data to fight against Covid-19 has been given to the Irish subsidiary of an American firm, Microsoft. 

The Conseil d'Etat used firstly CJEU case law, especially the decision of 16th of July 2020, called Schrems 2, in the light of which it was interpreted and French Law and the contract linking GIP and

The Conseil d'Etat concluded that it was not possible to transfer this data to United-Sates, that the contract could be only interpreted like this and that decree and contract's modifications secured this. But it observed that the risk of obtention by American public authorities was remaining. 

Because public order requires the maintenance of this platform and that it does not exist for the moment other technical solution, the Conseil d'Etat maintained the principle of its management by Microsoft, until a European operator is found. During this, the control by the CNIL (French Data Regulator), whose the observations has been taken into consideration, will be operated. 

We can retain three lessons from this great decision:

  • There is a perfect continuum between Ex Ante and Ex Post, because by a referred, the Conseil d'Etat succeed in obtaining an update of the decree, a modification of the contractual clauses by Microsoft and of the words of the Minister in order to, as soon as possible, the platform is managed by an European operator. Thus, because it is Compliance Law, the relevant time of the judge is the future. 
  • The Conseil d'Etat put the protection of people at the heart of its reasoning, what is compliant to the definition of Compliance Law. It succeeded to solve the dilemma: either protecting people thanks to the person to fight against the virus, or protecting people by preventing the centralization of data and their captation by American public authorities. Through a "political" decision, that is an action for the future, the Conseil found a provisional solution to protect people against the disease and against the dispossession of their data, requiring that an European solution is found. 
  • The Conseil d'Etat emphasized the Court of Justice of The European Union as the alpha and omega of Compliance Law. By interpreting the contract between a GIP (Public interest Group) and an Irish subsidy of an American group only with regards to the case law of the Court of Justice of European Union, the Conseil d'Etat shows that sovereign Europe of Data can be built. And that courts are at the heart of this. 

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Read the interview given on this Ordinance Health Data Hub

 

To go further about the question of Compliance Law concerning health data protection, read the news of 25th of August 2020: The always in expansion "Right to be Forgotten"​: a legitimate Oxymore in Compliance Law built on Information. Example of​ Cancer Survivors Protection 

 

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