The President of the Personal Data Protection Office in Poland imposed a fine amounting to PLN 943,470 for failing to fulfil the company’s transparency obligations towards over six million data subjects under Article 14 of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation. This is the first fine imposed by the Polish DPA under the GDPR and Poland’s Act on Personal Data Protection of 10 May 2018 implementing the GDPR. The decision provides some limited insights into the interpretation of the term “disproportionate effort” within the meaning of Article 14(5)(b) of the GDPR.
It’s no secret that a hot topic, perhaps the hot topic, in the European data protection world at present is the interplay between the GDPR and the e-Privacy Directive, in particular how it affects online advertising involving cookies. The European Data Protection Board recently released an opinion on this topic, and on 21 March the Court of Justice of the European Union released Advocate-General Szpunar’s opinion in the case of Planet49, which discusses the requirements for valid consent, in the context of both cookies under the e-Privacy Directive and more general data processing under the GDPR.
On 12 March 2019 at its Eighth Plenary Session, the European Data Protection Board adopted its Opinion 5/2019 on the interplay between the ePrivacy Directive and the General Data Protection Regulation. The Belgian Data Protection Authority had, on 3 December 2018, requested that the EDPB examine the overlap between the two laws and in particular the competence, tasks, and powers of data protection authorities. The EDPB adopted its Opinion in response to this request and in order to promote the consistent interpretation of the boundaries of the competences, tasks, and powers of DPAs.
On 14 March 2019, the Dutch data protection authority announced its fining structure for violations of the European General Data Protection Regulation and the Dutch law implementing the GDPR.
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute has published a new standard for cybersecurity in relation to consumer IoT products. The standard builds on the UK’s Code of Practice for Consumer IoT Security, published in October last year. The Code of Practice was developed by the UK Government following publication of a draft code as part of the Secure by Design report published by the Government in March 2018 and after consultation with industry, consumer associations, and academics. The UK Code is voluntary but the UK Government was keen to work with ETSI to develop it into a global standard.
On 7 March 2019 the Dutch Data Protection Authority published guidance that it considers “cookie walls” to violate the GDPR. A cookie wall is a pop-up on a website that blocks a user from access to the website until he or she consents to the placing of tracking cookies or similar technologies. Under current Dutch cookie law, functional and analytical cookies can be used without consent. Tracking cookies like those used for advertising may only be used if a visitor has given consent. According to the Dutch DPA, the use of a cookie wall results in a “take it or leave it” approach. The Dutch DPA explains that this practice is not compliant with the GDPR as consent resulting from a cookie wall is not freely given, because withholding consent has negative consequences for the user as the user is not allowed access to the website.
Vietnam’s new Law on Cybersecurity has garnered much attention due to its sweeping attempt to regulate online content available to internet users in Vietnam. Among its more controversial provisions are the requirements that both foreign and domestic online service providers store personal data of Vietnamese end-users in Vietnam, surrender such data to Vietnamese government authorities upon request, and supervise user posts to remove “prohibited” content (defined to include content viewed as disparaging of the Vietnamese government and/or government officials or state agencies). The law also requires offshore service providers to open branches or representative offices in Vietnam, presumably to facilitate enforcement of the Cybersecurity Law against them.
Subject to the deadlock in parliament being broken, or an extension of the Article 50 Brexit process, the UK’s 46-year European Union membership will cease in a matter of days. In the privacy world, the primary focus for most companies to date has, quite rightly, been on ensuring that data flows in and out of the UK can continue lawfully after that date. But for companies operating across Europe, and indeed across the world, with establishments or customers in the UK, Brexit also has implications in terms of the applicability of the UK data protection framework to their operations. The UK government has published its catchily-titled draft Data Protection, Privacy and Electronic Communications (Amendments etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, which amend the territorial applicability provisions of the UK’s Data Protection Act 2018 to ensure the law applies appropriately after the exit day.
Many companies have been struggling with GDPR implementation over the past two years, putting much effort into new roles, privacy concepts, and workflows. Now that the dust of the immediate GDPR compliance rush is settling, the first details of fines imposed under the GDPR and the number of cases pending with Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) in Europe are being made public. In Germany, DPAs are investigating a broad range of non-compliance issues and showing a tendency toward increasing their enforcement activities, to the point that we expect an announcement of increasing GDPR sanctions and fines in Germany in the near future.
Article 83 of the GDPR provides for two levels of administrative fines: a lower level – maximum of €10 million or 2% of the global turnover – for violations relating to record-keeping, data security, data protection impact assessments, data protection by design and default, and data processing agreements; and a higher level – maximum of €20 million or 4% of the global turnover – for violations relating to data protection principles, the legal basis for processing, information to data subjects, the prohibition of processing sensitive data, denial of data subjects’ rights, and data transfers to non-EU countries.
A draft act on adjusting the Polish legal system to the provisions of the GDPR is under way in the lower house of the Polish Parliament (Sejm). The draft act contains, among others, provisions amending the rules for processing personal data by banks, credit institutions, loan companies and other entities regulated by Polish banking law.
With the coming into effect of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), those conducting clinical trials in the EU face a complex set of rules ranging from lawful grounds for processing and transparency to restrictions on data transfers and secondary uses. To assist with this task the European Commission is in the process of adopting a Q&A document on which it has sought the advice from the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”).
On 23 January, the European Commission announced that it had adopted an adequacy decision in relation to Japan, to enter into force immediately. The mutual agreement, which covers Japan’s 127m citizens as well as the whole of the EU, allows personal data to be transferred between Japan and the EU without the need for additional safeguards such as Standard Contractual Clauses, and creates the largest area of safe data transfers in the world.
Right now, the whole of the U.K. appears to be on the same spot looking over a precipice. However, this is not the moment to be blind. As politicians struggle to find a magic formula for a prosperous Brexit, businesses are stepping up their efforts to mitigate the damage of a possible “no-deal Brexit.” The data protection community is no different. The proposed withdrawal agreement would have preserved the status quo in data protection terms, at least until the end of the transition period in December 2020. However, if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal, the implications for international data flows and privacy compliance generally will be severe. Therefore, British pragmatism demands an urgent and thorough approach to preparing for the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit.
In this hoganlovells.com interview, Mark Parsons, a Hogan Lovells partner based in Hong Kong, summarizes the current status of IoT-related policies in the Asia-Pacific region and discusses changes anticipated in 2019.
Although Brazil’s new General Data Privacy Law (LGPD) significantly expands Brazil’s data protection framework and places the country among one of the few jurisdictions to provide similar data privacy protections as those offered in the European Union, the new law did not create a data protection authority. On 28 December 2018, outgoing President Michel Temer signed Medida Provisória no. 869/18, a last-minute executive order that made important changes to the LGPD and most notably created the Brazilian National Data Protection Authority (ANPD).
The Brazilian General Data Protection Law (“Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados” or “LGPD”), passed by Congress on 14 August 2018, will come into effect on 15 February 2020. The new data protection law significantly improves Brazil’s existing legal framework by regulating the use of personal data by the public and private sectors. Very similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) implemented in the European Union, the LGPD imposes strict regulations on the collection, use, processing, and storage of electronic and physical personal data. In conjunction with the passing of the LGPD, the National Data Protection Authority will be created in order to adequately implement the new legislation.
Amid the constitutional and political uncertainties surrounding the Brexit process, the UK Government has provided welcome assurance on the data protection front. Guidance issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) confirms how UK data protection law will work in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Whilst the Government still regards a No Deal Brexit as “unlikely”, given the extremely severe implications of that scenario for transfers of personal data into and out of the UK, the DCMS confirmation is hugely helpful in terms of the preparations needed for that eventuality.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation is now a fully functioning six-month old creature, which has brought with it significant evolutionary changes. One of the most notable innovations of the new European data protection framework is its ambitious extra-territorial application. The introduction of brand new grounds for the applicability of the law was a major development. As a result, and as essential as this is, the GDPR’s territorial scope of application has become one of the most difficult issues to pin down. Therefore, the publication of the European Data Protection Board’s draft guidelines on the territorial scope of the GDPR marks an important milestone in understanding the implications of this influential framework.
The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has recently published its Opinion on the (United Kingdom) Information Commissioner’s list of processing activities which would require a Data Protection Impact Assessment under the GDPR. In its Opinion, the EDPB appears to be moving away from the idea that processing of genetic or location data, on its own, might be enough to trigger the mandatory DPIA requirements of the GDPR. This news will perhaps come as a relief to organisations currently struggling to come to grips with the “new” DPIA process and the resources and time that it demands. But, should we be surprised by the EDPB’s Opinion and will it have a significant impact in practice on the way organisations consider and conduct DPIAs?
In the first fine issued by a German data protection authority under the GDPR, on 21 November 2018 the authority of the German state of Baden-Württemberg (“LfDI”) imposed a fine of Euro 20,000 on a social media provider for a violation of its data security obligations under Art. 32 of the GDPR. The company’s very good cooperation with the LfDI was key to avoiding a higher level of fines.
The draft text of the EU-UK withdrawal agreement was published by the UK Government and the European Union yesterday, providing some of the first concrete indicators of the possible direction of travel in the area of data protection. In this post, we discuss ten initial conclusions from the draft text.
On June 12, 2018, the Vietnamese National Assembly passed the Law on Cybersecurity (the “Cybersecurity Law”), which will take effect on January 1, 2019. Among other aims, the law seeks to regulate data processing methods of technology companies that operate in Vietnam and restrict the Internet connections of users who post “prohibited” content. The seemingly broad application of the law’s provisions understandably caused concern among foreign tech companies serving Vietnamese end-users with fears of mandatory data localization and requirements to establish a physical presence in Vietnam.
On December 29, 2017, the Standardization Administration of China, jointly with the PRC General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, issued the Information Security Technology – Personal Information Security Specification, which officially came into effect on May 1, 2018. The Specification has, in very practical terms, become an important point of reference in evaluating the complex overlay of data protection compliance requirements found in the Cyber Security Law, the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, the e-Commerce Law and other enactments and measures.