Data protection authorities set out guidelines for the application of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation. The European Data Protection Board is the joint coordination body of the EU data protection authorities. The EDPB provides guidance on the application of the EU Data Protection Regulation. With the GDPR having come into force, the EDPB thus replaces the Art. 29 Data Protection Working Party which was established under the EU Data Protection Directive and other previously applicable data protection laws.
Class actions are commonplace in the United States but relatively rare in Europe. The European Union wants to change that, by facilitating class actions for mass privacy and data breaches.
On September 5, the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling in the case of Bărbulescu v. Romania that affirms employees’ right to privacy in the use of communications tools in the workplace. Although the ruling is strict, it aligns with the positions taken by the national courts of certain European Union Member States (e.g., Germany) and guidance issued by data protection authorities. And the criteria that the ECHR adopts for assessing the lawfulness of monitoring generally aligns with the requirements under the General Data Protection Regulation, which takes full effect on May 25, 2018. In our post, we summarize the ruling and identify key takeaways for companies that monitor workforce use of information systems and tools in the EU.
The German Ministry of Interior affairs has published an English translation of the new Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz – BDSG). On 27 April 2017 the German Parliament passed the BDSG in order to make use of the opening clause provided for in the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This bill has been controversial; see here for an interview with Jan Albrecht, Stefan Brink and Tim Wybitul.
The new BDSG replaces its national predecessor, which has been in force for the last 40 years. The new BDSG is the first step toward adapting national German member State law to the provisions of the GDPR. With an effective date of 25 May 2018, the new BDSG will also form the basis for the adaption of further German data privacy acts to the GDPR. We note that several ministries have already indicated that they are preparing specific data privacy provisions concerning special processing situations like social security data protection, and we expect these provisions to follow the implementation of the BDSG.
This overview summarizes the major implications of the BDSG for companies operating in Germany.
On 27 April 2017 the German Parliament passed an entirely new Federal Data Protection Act. The new BDSG replaces the old BDSG, which has been in force for the last 40 years. The new BDSG shall adapt the German law to the provisions of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The new BDSG will now form the basis for the adaption of German acts to the GDPR. Further acts concerning special processing situations like social security data protection are likely to follow.
On 1 February 2017, the German federal cabinet adopted a draft data protection bill. The planned implementation statute aims to supplement and further define the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which will come into force in 2018. The Chronicle of Data Protection’s summary of the most relevant aspects of the draft bill can be found here. We turn now to a preliminary assessment and explanation of proposed bill, provided by German Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer Dr. Stefan Brink, European Parliament member Jan Albrecht, and Hogan Lovells partner Tim Wybitul.
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force in May 2018, is generally designed to align data protection requirements across the EU. However, its opening clauses offer countries some freedom in their implementation of the Regulation and, thus, room to differ. In August 2016, the German Ministry of the Interior released its first GDPR implementation proposal to widespread criticism from both experts and data protection authorities. Recently, the BMI published a revised proposal, a new Federal Data Protection Act. The draft provides further details regarding the scope and implementation of existing GDPR provisions and also contains additional data protection requirements beyond those provided for in the Regulation. We explore notable specifications to and deviations from the GDPR.
Last Friday, the EU Council has adopted its position at first reading on the data protection reform. This prepares the way for the final adoption of the legislative package which includes the General Data Protection Regulation by the European Parliament on 14 April 2016. This formal adoption by the EU Council comes after the compromise agreed with the European Parliament on 15 December 2015.
On November 6, 2015, the European Commission issued its widely anticipated Communication to the European Parliament and Council about the effect of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s Schrems decision, which invalidated the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework. The Commission expresses a commitment to negotiate with the U.S. Government a new framework for cross-border transfers of personal data. The Commission also emphasizes that the Communication does not have binding legal effect, but concludes that companies should rely on “alternative tools” for authorizing data flows to third countries like the United States.
National EU member state courts, as well as the European Court of Justice, have struggled for several years to define the scope of application of EU data protection law in individual member states. In a decision that provides important guidelines on the competence of, and co-operation between, national data protection authorities, the ECJ has clarified how data protection law applies in cross-border situations within the EU.
Data privacy in an employment context remains an important challenge for companies. On the one hand, employers have a strong interest in monitoring personnel conduct or performance; few controllers are likely to have collected more personal data about an individual than their employer. On the other hand, employees have a legitimate expectation of privacy – including at their workplace. This inherent conflict of interests has created a considerable volume of case law regarding employee monitoring in several member states, relating to the permissibility of internal investigations and compliance controls. This entry is an excerpt from Hogan Lovells’ “Future-proofing privacy: A guide to preparing for the EU Data Protection Regulation.”
In a new turn to the Maximilian Schrems case in Ireland, the Irish High Court on 18 June 2014 decided to refer several questions to the European Court of Justice, including whether national data protection authorities in Europe may disregard the Safe Harbor decision of the European Commission when assessing whether the U.S. recipient of data ensures an adequate level of data protection required under EU law. Depending on the outcome of the case, European and U.S. companies may not be able to rely on Safe Harbor to legitimise cross-border data transfers in the future.