By Florence Chafiol-Chaumont from August & Debouzy*

The CNIL very recently announced on its website that it has performed investigations into approximately fifty companies in order to check if they respect their obligations in terms of the protection of their employees' personal data. These verifications led the CNIL to identify two issues: "the implementation conditions of professional alerts systems and the transfer of data to countries that do not belong to the European Community." In these respects, it was found that the subject companies do not comply with the Act of January 6, 1978, on the processing of personal data.

The transfer of personal data to a country that does not belong to the European Union (except for a few countries) is subject to a particular formalism so as to ensure an equivalent level of protection to that existing inside the Union. Furthermore, the person whose personal data is transferred abroad must benefit from very precise information, the precise content of which has been defined in a decree dated March 5, 2007.

In the same way, the implementation of a professional alert must comply with the requirements defined by the CNIL regarding this matter. If the professional alert system complies perfectly with the requirements defined in the unique decision of the CNIL dated December 5, 2005, such a system can be implemented after sending to the CNIL a commitment to conform to this decision. However, if the considered system does not satisfy the requirements defined by the CNIL, its implementation shall be subject to the CNIL's authorization. As far as we know, up to date, no derogatory professional alert system has ever been authorized.

These issues having been subject to an increased watchfulness from the CNIL, it is strongly recommended that companies comply with these rules before the CNIL starts to sanction offenders: financial and criminal sanctions are at stake!

*August & Debouzy, Nabarro and GSK Stockman & Kollegen have announced the entry of two new law firms into their international alliance. Italian firm Nunziante Magrone and Spanish firm Rodés & Sala have joined the network, which has covered England, France and Germany up until now. This alliance was set up by the English firm Nabarro and now counts over 800 lawyers based in the five countries.

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