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.
The Opinion of the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the case assessing the status and validity of Safe Harbor has created significant uncertainty relating to its immediate future. While the CJEU has not yet ruled, the AG’s decisions are typically quite influential. The AG’s view is that the Safe Harbor program does not provide an adequate level of data protection and that it should have already been invalidated by the European Commission.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is considering a critical case regarding the “right to be forgotten” and the application of EU data protection law to Internet intermediaries. The case involves a Spanish individual who is seeking to require Google to delete references to newspaper articles mentioning his prior involvement in debt collection proceedings from its search results. The ECJ’s adviser, Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen, recently issued a non-binding opinion stating that although EU law should apply to Google, the company should not be deemed a “data controller” for its search engine activities. The opinion also warned that the “right to be forgotten” can adversely affect freedom of expression.