Superintendence of Industry and Commerce issues new circular on international data transfers

by Dentons


On August 10, 2017, the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce presented a new regulation under the country's recently enacted international data transfer law. Specifically, the new circular explicitly sets forth the standards that must be considered when deciding if a country has an adequate data protection level, as well as a list of countries that have been deemed to meet such criteria. The circular also defines specific parameters for requesting a declaration of conformity from the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce.

In particular, the new regulation contains the following provisions:

 1. Standards for determining if data protection level is adequate:

To determine whether a country's data protection level is adequate, the following standards must be considered:

(i) the existence of binding regulations applicable to the processing of personal data;

(ii) the legal recognition of principles applicable to data processing, the rights of data subjects and the duties of both data controllers and processor;

(iii) the existence of judicial and administrative means and channels to ensure the effective enforcement of the law and the rights of data subjects; and

(iv) the existence of competent authorities in charge of supervising the processing of personal data and enforcing applicable legislation. Lastly, to ensure the legitimacy of the international data transfer, it is the obligation of data controllers to verify that the recipient country complies with the aforementioned standards.

2. Countries offering adequate levels of data protection:

According to the circular, the following countries are regarded as offering an appropriate level of data protection: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, United Kingdom, United States, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, and any countries that the European Commission regards as having an adequate level of data protection.

3. Procedures related to the request of declarations of conformity:

A data controller that is unable to justify an international data transfer through the standards of an adequate level of protection, the listing of countries offering an adequate level of protection, or certain exceptions established in the law, the data controller must request a declaration of conformity from the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce. To do so, the data controller must file a petition addressed to the Document Management and Physical Resources Group or send a request to, providing (in Spanish) the information described in the "Guide to request the declaration of conformity." The procedure for requesting a declaration of conformity is governed by the Contentious Administrative Code, specifically in relation to the general administrative procedure.

4. Tacit declarations of conformity:

Data controllers may execute a data transfer agreement or other legal instrument that guarantees the protection of personal data and establishes each party's obligations for ensuring compliance with the principles governing data processing. If the legal instrument contains the above-mentioned elements and the data controller declares the existence of such document, as well as the conditions of the international data transfer, before the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce, it will be presumed that the operation is viable and that it has a declaration of conformity. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce may at any time seek to verify the conditions of the international data transfer and may investigate and sanction non-compliance with Colombian privacy law.

In short, the current available options to legalize an international data transfer are:

  • Execute the data transfer in accordance to one of the exceptions established in Law 1581 of 2012; or
  • Verify that the recipient country is included in the list countries with adequate levels of data protection; or
  • Verify that the recipient country meets the standards of an adequate level of data protection; or
  • Request a declaration of conformity from the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce through a general administrative procedure; or
  • Execute a data transfer contract or other legal instrument according to the requirements established by the circular, and inform the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce about the operation to be made and the existence of the legal document.

According to the circular, data controllers should be able to demonstrate, at any time, that they have implemented adequate and effective measures to ensure the security and proper processing of the personal data that is being transferred abroad, even if such operation is carried out with respect to a country deemed to have an adequate level of data protection. In addition, the new regulation establishes that simple cross-border transits or redirection of data do not constitute international data transfers.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Dentons | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Dentons on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.