GDPR : Article 27 - Representatives of Controllers or Processors Not Established In The Union

by Avinash V


The GDPR's Article 27  "Representatives of Controllers or Processors Not Established in the Union" provision mandates that non-EU entities processing personal data of EU residents must appoint a representative within the EU. This ensures compliance, effective communication with EU authorities, and facilitates individuals in asserting their data rights. As data transcends borders, this requirement plays a pivotal role in upholding privacy principles and fostering accountable data processing globally.

GDPR : Article 27 - Representatives of Controllers or Processors Not Established In The Union

Background and Rationale

The globalization of data-driven activities prompted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to introduce the "Representatives of Controllers or Processors Not Established in the Union" provision. This addresses challenges posed by cross-border data processing, ensuring EU residents' data protection even when handled by non-EU entities.

The provision establishes a point of contact within the EU, enhancing enforcement and cooperation between authorities. In an increasingly interconnected digital landscape, the background and rationale behind this provision underscore the GDPR's commitment to safeguarding privacy rights and harmonizing data protection practices on a global scale.

Scope and Applicability

Article 27 of the GDPR outlines the requirement for controllers and processors not established within the EU but who process personal data of EU residents to appoint a representative. This obligation applies in two key scenarios:

  • Controllers or processors offering goods or services: If a non-EU controller or processor offers goods or services to individuals in the EU, or monitors their behavior (such as online tracking), the GDPR's provisions are triggered. The threshold for this obligation is intentionally broad, encompassing both commercial activities and monitoring activities that relate to EU data subjects.
  • Processing of personal data of EU data subjects: When a non-EU entity processes personal data of EU residents, irrespective of whether payment is involved, the requirement for a representative applies. This ensures that even entities without a direct commercial relationship with EU individuals must comply with the GDPR's obligations.
GDPR Implementation Toolkit

Role and Responsibilities of the Representative

The designated representative acts as a point of contact for data protection authorities and individuals within the EU. Their responsibilities include:

  • Communication: The representative facilitates communication between the supervisory authorities and the non-EU entity. They serve as a contact person for data protection inquiries, investigations, and cooperation.
  • Data Subjects' Rights: The representative assists individuals in exercising their rights under the GDPR, such as accessing their personal data, rectifying inaccuracies, and lodging complaints.
  • Cooperation: The representative cooperates with supervisory authorities in matters relating to data protection compliance, investigations, and enforcement actions.
  • Records and Documentation: The representative maintains records of processing activities on behalf of the non-EU entity, as required by Article 30 of the GDPR.
  • Penalties and Liabilities: The representative may be subject to enforcement actions and penalties in case of non-compliance with their obligations under the GDPR.

Appointment and Designation

To fulfill the "Representatives of Controllers or Processors Not Established in the Union" requirement under the GDPR, non-EU entities must designate a representative based within an EU member state. This representative serves as a bridge between the entity and EU authorities, ensuring effective communication, cooperation, and compliance.

Designation must be done in writing, and the representative's contact details provided to relevant supervisory authorities. This approach strengthens accountability and transparency, enabling swift responses to data protection inquiries and facilitating individuals' exercise of their rights. The appointment and designation process establishes a tangible link between global entities and the EU's data protection framework, reinforcing the GDPR's overarching mission.


The GDPR's provision for representatives of controllers or processors not established in the EU is a critical component of the regulation's effort to protect individuals' privacy rights and ensure robust data protection. By requiring non-EU entities to appoint representatives, the GDPR ensures that there is a direct channel of communication and accountability between such entities and EU authorities.

This mechanism enhances transparency, empowers data subjects, and strengthens the enforcement of data protection standards in an increasingly interconnected digital world. As businesses continue to operate across borders, compliance with the representative requirement becomes a crucial aspect of maintaining trust and complying with the GDPR's overarching objectives.


GDPR Implementation Toolkit