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HL Chronicle of Data Protection Privacy & Information Security News & Trends

Category Archives: International/EU Privacy

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Posted in International/EU Privacy

Russia Plans to Increase Fines for Violating Data Protection Laws

On 24 February, the Russian State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament) adopted in the first reading a draft law introducing amendments to the Russian Code on Administrative Offences that would increase the amount of the fines imposed for violating Russian data protection laws and introducing a differentiation of the relevant offences’ types. Notably, the Draft Law does not introduce any separate fine for violating Russia’s new Data Localization Law, although there is still a possibility that this could be modified as the legislative process progresses.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

2015: The Turning Point for Data Privacy Regulation in Asia?

2014 was a very eventful year for data privacy regulation in Asia and there are reasons to believe that 2015 will represent a turning point for the region as established privacy regimes are toughened and new regimes enacted in recent years begin to mature. The past year saw a number of significant regulatory developments, in particular the implementation of new, comprehensive “European-style” privacy laws in Singapore and Malaysia, the amendment of China’s consumer protection law to include data privacy principles and increased financial penalties in South Korea.

Posted in Consumer Privacy, International/EU Privacy

Sweep Reveals Scale of Cookie Consent Non-Compliance

The results of an international investigation into the cookie consent practices of 478 websites frequently visited by European citizens have now been published. The outcome is perhaps unsurprising: cookies are used en masse by websites operating in Europe, their expiry dates are often excessive, and crucially, not enough is being done to provide notice and obtain valid consent for the use of cookies and other device identifying technologies. The specific websites that were investigated are not identified (as yet), however those selected were amongst the 250 most frequently visited by individuals within each member state taking part in the investigation (as ranked by Alexa.com). Sites in the media, e-commerce and public sectors were targeted in particular because they are perceived by the EU data protection regulators to present the greatest data protection and privacy risks to EU citizens.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

The Most Delicate Balance of Our Time

Public atrocities always attract some kind of political reaction. Generally, the more brutal the atrocity, the harsher the reaction. It is understandable from the perspective of political responsibility. So when defenceless people are mercilessly attacked by gunmen as punishment for their satirical views, a very visible reaction is to be expected. However, political reactions to grave situations need not only visibility but measured thinking and careful decision-making. The reaction to a violent and criminal act can often have more far-reaching implications than the act itself, leading to an escalation of violence. At the same time, doing nothing to protect citizens from harm is not a responsible option. As with many political decisions, securing public safety is a balancing exercise of robustness and restraint.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

Will the New EU Data Protection Regulation Facilitate Healthcare Innovation?

Technology has transformed and disrupted long standing industries as well as created new industries along the way. The digital revolution in the healthcare industry appears to have been long promised but much delayed. There may be a number of understandable reasons why the wheels have not turned so quickly. For instance, unlike say the financial services industry which is private sector led, the healthcare industry has obvious public sector touch points which can make any sort of change slower. But just as information about an individual’s bank balance or salary is considered confidential, so a person’s health information is particularly sensitive, both in a legal sense (because health information is categorised as sensitive under EU data protection law) but also in an obviously everyday sense – people feel that their health information (in most but not all circumstances) is private.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

The Compliance Challenges That Can No Longer Be Ignored

Although Asia’s data privacy laws draw from a common set of guiding principles, each law is unique. Moreover, as freshly minted regulators come to grips with these new laws, differences in interpretation and underlying policy are becoming apparent. As a consequence, there is now a ‘patchwork’ of compliance requirements across the region. Depending on the country, sector specific laws, consumer protection laws, employment laws and laws in emerging areas such as cybersecurity, also complicate the compliance picture for Asia, and there is no common framework for any of these laws.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

French Consumer Protection Panel Flags Unfair Privacy Practices

Like the United States, France has a broadly-worded consumer protection statute prohibiting unfair clauses in consumer contracts (the French term is “clauses abusives”). What constitutes an “unfair” clause is in some cases fixed by regulation. But in many cases, the term is left to the interpretation of the courts and France’s consumer protection agency, the DGCCRF. France created an advisory panel to issue guidance on what constitutes an unfair clause in various circumstances. On December 3, 2014, the panel published a lengthy opinion identifying 46 clauses in social media terms of use and privacy policies that the panel considers unfair.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner Issues Guidance on Cross-Border Data Transfers

On 29 December, 2014, Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data published a guidance note concerning the potential implementation of section 33 of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, which would restrict the export of personal data from Hong Kong. In a recent client alert, partner Mark Parsons and associate Peter Colegate from the Hogan Lovells Hong Kong office explore the Commissioner’s understanding of how section 33 would be implemented, including some important nuances that are particularly relevant to multi-national businesses operating in Hong Kong and the wider region.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

New EU Data Protection Law in 2015? Decisiveness, Flexibility and Direction are the Answer

All eyes are currently on the Council of the EU to figure out when and in what form we are likely to see a new EU data protection law emerging. The adoption of this law, which has been in the making since the European Commission presented its vision for a modern privacy regime in 2010, will have vital and global implications for the future of our data-driven existence. This explains the cautious progress so far, but the need for a modernised regime is pressing. Six presidencies have so far managed the adoption process within the Council—which together with the European Parliament has legislative responsibility for passing EU laws—and each has made its own contribution to the process. But the Council has been the key focus of attention of the ongoing legislative process since the European Parliament approved its own draft of the EU Data Protection Regulation in early 2014.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

New CNIL Accountability Standard May Become European Model

The chairwoman of the French data protection authority (the CNIL), Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, has long been an outspoken proponent that companies should have internal accountability mechanisms for data protection compliance. On January 13, 2015 the CNIL published a standard defining what accountability means in practice. Companies that demonstrate that they comply with the new standard will be able to obtain an “accountability seal” from the CNIL.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

The Judiciary v. the Surveillance Society

You know a matter is serious when a top international tribunal takes upon itself to change the course of society. This year, three rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the highest judicial authority of the EU, show its grave concern for the data-hungry world in which we live and its desire to change it. Each of these rulings targets a different audience – the state, the corporate world and the citizen – but all of them uphold the role of privacy as a right that is threatened by our tech-driven existence. The effects of these decisions go beyond the pure legal technicalities of interpreting European data protection law because their consistent message is that society as a whole, in the EU and elsewhere, should be less tolerant of and more concerned about our dependence on data.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

Russian Data Localization Law May Now Come into Force One Year Ahead of Schedule, in September 2015

On 17 December, the State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament) passed legislation that would change the effective date of Russia’s new law requiring the local storage in Russia of the personal data of Russian citizens (Data Localization Law) from 1 September 2016 to 1 September 2015. The legislation currently is subject to the Federation Council’s (the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament) and president’s approvals.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

CNIL International Chief Discusses Safe Harbor and Onward Transfer

Following on the heels of the IAPP Congress in Brussels, the CNIL’s (the French data protection authority) international chief, Florence Raynal, engaged in a dialogue with the members of the American Chamber of Commerce’s Digital Economy Committee in France. Raynal engaged with AmCham members on questions relating to the EU-US Safe Harbor framework, focusing on the practicalities of onward transfers. The discussion involved two kinds of transfers.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

Personal Data Protection in Poland – Important Legal Changes

On 7 November 2014 the Polish Parliament passed the Act on the Facilitation of Business Activity which substantially amends the existing Act on Personal Data Protection. As we previously reported, this new Act requires an administrator for information security to be given an independent position within the data controller’s organization. Additionally, the new Act introduces provisions facilitating the transfer of personal data to countries outside the European Economic Area (further implementing provisions from Directive 95/46/EC and the proposed draft General Data Protection Regulation). The new law will come into force on 1 January 2015.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

French Insurance Compliance Pack Issued by the CNIL

On November 12, 2014, the CNIL issued a new compliance pack for the insurance sector drafted in collaboration with the sector trade associations. Compliance packs are a new tool that the CNIL has been promoting for the past few months as an operational response to the needs of professionals concerning the application of the French data protection law. The CNIL has previously published compliance packs about electric “smart meters” and about social housing. Two new compliance packs are already announced to be published soon: one about banking activities and one about social services.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

EU Regulation: Article 29 Chief Criticizes Risk-Based Approach

Addressing the French Parliamentary Commission on Digital Rights, CNIL and Article 29 Working Party Chair Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin commented on the current state of negotiations of the proposed European General Data Protection Regulation, warning that excessive reliance on a risk-based approach could undermine fundamental rights. A risk analysis is useful as a guide to allocate resources, but should not affect the underlying rights of the data subject, she said. To illustrate her point, Falque-Pierrotin used the analogy of a home owner who lives in a part of the city where burglaries are frequent. The risk-based approach means that the home owner will buy more locks for doors, and that police authorities may devote more resources to patrolling. It does not mean, however, that home owners have different rights depending on where they live. Falque-Pierrotin is concerned that the current negotiations on the risk-based approach may confuse these two concepts, leading to a situation where individuals’ rights are reduced or ignored for low-risk processing.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

French Official Recommends Increased Supervision Over Government Data-Gathering

During a November 13, 2014 hearing before the Digital Rights Commission of the French National Assembly, Jean-Marie Delarue, the head of France’s oversight Commission for National Security Interceptions said that France’s 1991 law on national security wiretaps needed to be updated to better protect individuals. Currently, the CNCIS is consulted by the Prime Minister’s office before the implementation of national security wiretaps. According to Mr. Delarue, this system works well for wiretaps. But the collection of metadata falls largely outside this procedure. According to Delarue, a major overhaul of the 1991 law on national security wiretaps is needed to catch up with modern intelligence gathering techniques and to better reflect the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. According to Delarue, justifications for government invasion of privacy need to be narrowly defined by law. Broad justifications such as “fundamental interests of the nation” are too vague to withstand scrutiny under European constitutional principles.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

How Do Global Businesses Know When EU Data Protection Law Applies to Them?

At the heart of EU data protection law is the passionate belief in the right to privacy. Indeed, the Treaty of Lisbon has now recognised both privacy and data protection as fundamental rights under EU law. As fundamental rights, there is a sense in which the scope of privacy and data protection must be expanded to the furthest extent possible. Yet, like any other law, it must be clear when and where EU data protection rules apply and the applicable law provision in the current Data Protection Directive has caused some headaches along the way. Whether the proposed new EU regime will prove to be a calming tonic remains to be seen. Today’s technology pays no attention to geographic borders. What do Cloud Computing networks care about the Atlantic Ocean so long as the network is resilient and customers can access their data? Businesses typically structure their systems in order to provide the best commercial proposition which often (but not always) involves cross-border data transfers. Therefore, cross-border data transfers are a part of everyday business. But businesses need to understand which laws apply to their operations to ensure compliance and avoid being chased by regulators or disgruntled customers. Unfortunately, the Directive’s provision concerning when it applies has not always provided much clarity.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

Data Privacy Regulation Comes of Age in Asia

Asia has seen a proliferation of new and stepped-up data privacy laws in recent years. Many of these laws draw from a common source in the APEC Privacy Framework, a principles-based document that shares origins with Europe’s Directive 95/46. But regional framework notwithstanding, these laws have been implemented with unique features and important nuances in each jurisdiction across the Asia region. Critically, these laws are now being enforced, with high profile data security breaches and enforcement action regularly hitting the headlines in Asia, as elsewhere. Data privacy issues are now board level issues in Asia. Our Data Privacy Regulation Comes of Age in Asia gives an overview of regional developments and features a “heat map” that compares and contrasts regulatory standards and the enforcement environment in Asia’s key jurisdictions.

Posted in International/EU Privacy

Insights from the Russian Data Protection Authority’s Conference on Personal Data Protection

In a recent client alert, partner Natalia Gulyaeva and associate Maria Sedykh from the Hogan Lovells Moscow Office joined associate Bret Cohen from the Hogan Lovells Washington, D.C. office to highlight key insights from the fifth annual conference on “Personal Data Protection” hosted by Roskomnadzor, Russia’s Data Protection Authority.