Achieving compliance with the European Union’s data protection regulations is critical for hundreds of thousands of Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers. Many of them are subject to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which ensures individuals’ fundamental right to privacy and the protection of personal data. In February, we announced strengthened commitments to protect customer data, such as challenging law enforcement requests for customer data that conflict with EU law.

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve launched two new online resources to help customers more easily complete data transfer assessments and comply with the GDPR, taking into account the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) recommendations. These resources will also assist AWS customers in other countries to understand whether their use of AWS services involves a data transfer.

Using AWS’s new “Privacy Features for AWS Services,” customers can determine whether their use of an individual AWS service involves the transfer of customer data (the personal data they’ve uploaded to their AWS account). Knowing this information enables customers to choose the right action for their applications, such as opting out of the data transfer or creating an appropriate disclosure of the transfer for end user transparency.

We’re also providing additional information on the processing activities and locations of the limited number of sub-processors that AWS engages to provide services that involve the processing of customer data. AWS engages three types of sub-processors:

  • Local AWS entities that provide the AWS infrastructure.
  • AWS entities that process customer data for specific AWS services.
  • Third parties that AWS contracts with to provide processing activities for specific AWS services.

The enhanced information available on our updated Sub-processors page enables customers to assess if a sub-processor is relevant to their use of AWS services and AWS Regions.

These new resources make it easier for AWS customers to conduct their data transfer assessments as set out in the EDPB recommendations and, as a result, comply with GDPR. After completing their data transfer assessments, customers will also be able to determine whether they need to implement supplemental measures in line with the EDPB’s recommendations.

These resources support our ongoing commitment to giving customers control over where their data is stored, how it’s stored, and who has access to it.

Since we opened our first region in the EU in 2007, customers have been able to choose to store customer data with AWS in the EU. Today, customers can store their data in our AWS Regions in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Sweden, and we’re adding Spain in 2022. AWS will never transfer data outside a customer’s selected AWS Region without the customer’s agreement.

AWS customers control how their data is stored, and we have a variety of tools at their disposal to enhance security. For example, AWS CloudHSM and AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) allow customers to encrypt data in transit and at rest and securely generate and manage encryption keys that they control.

Finally, our customers control who can access their data. We never use customer data for marketing or advertising purposes. We also prohibit, and our systems are designed to prevent, remote access by AWS personnel to customer data for any purpose, including service maintenance, unless requested by a customer, required to prevent fraud and abuse, or to comply with the law.

As previously mentioned, we challenge law enforcement requests for customer data from governmental bodies, whether inside or outside the EU, where the request conflicts with EU law, is overbroad, or we otherwise have any appropriate grounds to do so.

Earning customer trust is the foundation of our business at AWS, and we know protecting customer data is key to achieving this. We also know that helping customers protect their data in a world with constantly changing regulations, technology, and risks takes teamwork. We would never expect our customers to go it alone.

As we continue to enhance the capabilities customers have at their fingertips, they can be confident that choosing AWS will ensure they have the tools necessary to help them meet the most stringent security, privacy, and compliance requirements.

If you have questions or need more information, visit our EU Data Protection page.

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Author

Steve Schmidt

Steve is Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer for AWS. His duties include leading product design, management, and engineering development efforts focused on bringing the competitive, economic, and security benefits of cloud computing to business and government customers. Prior to AWS, he had an extensive career at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he served as a senior executive and section chief. He currently holds 11 patents in the field of cloud security architecture. Follow Steve on Twitter.

Author

Donna Dodson

Donna is a Senior Principal Scientist at AWS focusing on security and privacy capabilities including cryptography, risk management, standards, and assessments. Before joining AWS, Donna was the Chief Cybersecurity Advisor at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She led NIST’s comprehensive cybersecurity research and development to cultivate trust in technology for stakeholders nationally and internationally.

Categories: Security