On 9 March, the Council of the EU issued a partial general approach on a key chapter of the EU Data Protection Regulation which has implications for the regulation of health data. The Council’s stance has been welcomed by a number of healthcare commentators as it promotes a more flexible approach to the use of health data and accords with the tenor of the revised version of the draft Regulation that emerged from the Council in December last year.
On 24 March, the French data protection authority, the CNIL, announced that it will soon make easier the practical implementation of intra-group transfers of data from French entities to entities located outside the European Union where groups of companies have adopted Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs). BCRs are becoming increasingly popular among multinationals as a legal means for providing adequate protection to personal data which are transferred from the European Union to countries that are not considered to provide an adequate level of protection by the European Commission. In the CNIL’s view, the implementation of BCRs shows a strong commitment from multinational organisations to protect personal data. Indeed, the CNIL has been a champion of the emerging “BCR for processors” initiative which is also prompting interest from sophisticated processors who operate globally.
On Thursday, 14 May, Hogan Lovells data protection lawyers Mark Parsons and Eugene Low will host an in-person discussion at Hogan Lovells’ offices in Hong Kong to take stock of where Asia is in terms of data privacy regulation, and to help chart a roadmap to compliance. The focus will be on identifying “hot spots” for businesses operating across the region and pointing to practical measures and points of prioritisation. The discussion will also consider steps to be taken to prepare for and react to breach events, with a seasoned view of regulatory attitudes and approaches to enforcement and remediation.
On 29 March, the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data published a guidance note that supplements previous guidance on the use of closed circuit television systems and for the first time addresses the increasing use of unmanned aircraft systems. The Commissioner’s guidance is the first significant regulatory engagement on the use of UAS by a Hong Kong regulator.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Hogan Lovells webinar “Russia Data Localization Update: New Details Emerge from Meetings with Russian Regulator” on 2 April 2015. This update follows an October 2014 presentation by Hogan Lovells that outlined Russia’s newly enacted Data Localization Law. In this webinar, Hogan Lovells privacy and data protection Natalia Gulyaeva and Bret Cohen provided insight into the expectations of Russian regulators as the September 2015 implementation deadline approaches.
Earlier this month, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer issued a Notice of Violation and $1.1 million penalty to Compu-Finder for four violations of the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation. Although Compu-Finder was apparently engaged in “flagrant” CASL violations, according to the Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer, the CRTC also confirmed that it is assessing CASL complaints and that “a number of investigations are currently underway.” Therefore, organizations engaging with individuals located in Canada should review their communications and marketing practices for compliance under CASL and other applicable law.
On 1 April 2015, President Obama signed an Executive Order authorizing the imposition of sanctions on individuals and entities determined to be responsible for or complicit in malicious cyber-enabled activities constituting a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control simultaneously released FAQs related to the Order. The White House, in a statement by President Obama and in FAQs on the White House Blog, explained that the Order will be used to impose targeted sanctions against the “worst of the worst” malicious cyber actors, as well as companies that knowingly use stolen trade secrets.
Recently, new rules on cookies came into force in the Netherlands. In addition, the Dutch Second Chamber approved a draft bill to introduce a mandatory data breach notification requirement and to strengthen the Dutch Data Protection Authority’s investigative and fining powers. The new rules apply to all companies acting as a “data controller” within the meaning of the Dutch Data Protection Act. The Dutch First Chamber has announced that it plans to review this draft bill as soon as possible.
With the September 2015 effective date of Russia’s Data Localization Law less than six months away, the Russian data protection authority, Roskomnadzor, has still not issued any formal guidance on how it interprets the law’s broad requirement that companies must process and store the personal data of Russian citizens within Russia. Roskomnadzor has, however, recently held a series of meetings with different industry groups about the law. While Roskomnadzor’s views as expressed in these meetings do not constitute a formal position, they provide insight into how the regulator is likely to interpret the law.
The UK and Canadian data protection regulators have written to webcam manufacturers to highlight concerns about the safety of internet-connected devices and to enlist their assistance in reducing the risks posed by their products. In particular, the regulators call for manufacturers to roll out privacy-friendly default settings, implement “privacy by design” – whereby data protection and privacy considerations are built into the design and manufacturing process – and provide increased guidance to consumers about ensuring the security of devices.
Security concerns and the need to increase cyber security measures have recently boosted the use of Bring Your Own Device policies in France. Recent events have exacerbated fears of data breaches and hacking for IT managers who were not overly concerned before. As a consequence, IT security teams are seeking to apply the same security and device management systems that apply to their own company’s equipment to employees’ devices when employees use their devices for work purposes. The expansion of an employer’s control over its employees’ devices raises concerns for the privacy and protection of employees’ personal data. The CNIL has published new guidelines on BYOD. An unofficial English translation of the guidelines appear in this post.
The Intelligence and Security Committee of the UK Parliament today published its much anticipated report into the secret capabilities of the UK intelligence and security agencies, in particular their powers to intercept electronic communications and acquire communications data.The key recommendation of the report is that the UK’s current laws governing the activities of the agencies be replaced in their entirety by a new, transparent, legal framework.
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.
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.
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.
To celebrate Data Protection Day, Hogan Lovells has launched a pioneering new tool, that enables clients to deal with privacy compliance in a way that assists innovation and adds value to their products and processes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.