Guidelines 02/2018 on Derogations of Article 49 GDPR
Paragraph 2.1.2 Consent must be specific for the particular data transfer/set of transfers
One of the requirements of valid consent is that it must be specific. In order to constitute a valid ground for a data transfer pursuant to Article 49(1)(a), hence, consent needs to be specifically given for the particular data transfer or set of transfers.
The element “specific” in the definition of consent intends to ensure a degree of user control and transparency for the data subject. This element is also closely linked with the requirement that consent should be “informed”.
Since consent must be specific, it is sometimes impossible to obtain the data subject’s prior consent for a future transfer at the time of the collection of the data, e.g. if the occurrence and specific circumstances of a transfer are not known at the time consent is requested, the impact on the data subject cannot be assessed. As an example, an EU company collects its customers’ data for a specific purpose (delivery of goods) without considering transferring this data, at that time, to a third party outside the EU. However, some years later, the same company is acquired by a non-EU company which wishes to transfer the personal data of its customers to another company outside the EU. In order for this transfer to be valid on the grounds of the consent derogation, the data subject should give his/her consent for this specific transfer at the time when the transfer is envisaged. Therefore, the consent provided at the time of the collection of the data by the EU company for delivery purposes is not sufficient to justify the use of this derogation for the transfer of the personal data outside the EU which is envisaged later.
Therefore, the data exporter must make sure to obtain specific consent before the transfer is put in place even if this occurs after the collection of the data has been made. This requirement is also related to the necessity for consent to be informed. It is possible to obtain the specific consent of a data subject prior to the transfer and at the time of the collection of the personal data as long as this specific transfer is made known to the data subject and the circumstances of the transfer do not change after the specific consent has been given by the data subject. Therefore the data exporter must make sure that the requirements set out in paragraph 2.1.3 below are also complied with.