As with anything Brexit-related, the UK government is facing a dilemma in relation to data protection law. Shall we follow the direction of travel of the past 25 years and opt for the continuity and certainty provided by the GDPR or shall we use the departure from the EU to make radical changes to the regulation of data uses and privacy? On the one hand, it would be reassuring to know that despite Brexit’s uncertainties, the current framework is here to stay and it will develop in a familiar way. On the other hand, it must be tempting to use this opportunity to completely re-think what is in the best national interest. For an area of law and policy that is so closely related to technological development and prosperity, it would be foolish not to consider whether a different formulation would lead to better outcomes. A dilemma indeed.
Washington State is already shaping up as a center of state privacy legislation for 2020. Last year, SB 5376 gained significant traction in the legislature, passing the state Senate almost unanimously but ultimately failing in the House due to discussions around facial recognition and compliance challenges. State Senator Reuven Carlyle, chair of the state’s Senate Energy, Climate & Technology Committee, has now released a revised draft of the WPA for 2020. If enacted as drafted, this new version of the WPA would come into effect on July 31, 2021.
Two years on since the first draft, the final act of the legislative passage saga of the long-awaited People’s Republic of China Encryption Law ended with its passage on 26 October 2019. It will take effect on 1 January 2020. The final text of the Encryption Law clearly represents a step in the right direction in terms of putting in place a comprehensive law in the encryption field, a sensitive and highly regulated area which China closely associates with state secrecy, and which historically has caused foreign investors great confusion with its strange mix of legislation that said one thing and policies that said another.
On October 22, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a media and marketing industry trade group, released for public comment the California Consumer Privacy Act Compliance Framework for Publishers and Technology Companies and accompanying technical specifications to implement the Framework. The draft Framework is designed to help Framework participants (including publishers and intermediaries) comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act by: (1) establishing a digital signal that Framework participants can use to communicate consumer requests to opt out of “sales” of personal information associated with digital advertising; and (2) supporting that signal with a standard contract designed to create service provider relationships between publishers and advertising companies after a consumer registers an opt out. The IAB is requesting comments, which can be sent to email@example.com, by November 5, 2019.
On July 16, 2019, Nathan Salminen, Allison Holt, and Paul Otto from the Hogan Lovells Privacy and Cybersecurity and Litigation teams presented a webinar, “Cyberthreats in the Internet of Things” where they explored some techniques that can be used to exploit potential vulnerabilities in connected devices and how those types of events impact organizations from a regulatory and litigation perspective.
On 19 July the French Data Protection Authority published new guidelines on cookies and trackers. These replace the existing Recommendation No. 2013-378 of 5 December 2013, are intended to be in line with relevant GDPR provisions and have been produced in anticipation of the future ePrivacy Regulation. The guidelines will be supplemented, at a later stage, with sectoral recommendations setting out practical methods for obtaining consent. These sectoral recommendations will be included in a final version of the guidelines on cookies and trackers open for public consultation, which will then be subject to final adoption by the CNIL (expected early 2020).
In the wake of a recent announcement by a major Dutch bank that it would start providing its customers with personalized advertisements based on their spending patterns, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) has sent a letter to all Dutch banks urging them to thoroughly review their direct marketing practices. The DPA specifically asked any bank contemplating the use of transaction data for direct marketing to reconsider. In its analysis, the DPA may have introduced a very onerous obligation to re-collect personal data for every single use.
As companies continue to grapple with interpreting how the GDPR’s principles apply to their own businesses, in particular contexts, there is a growing need for data protection regulators to provide clarity on the practical application of the regulation. In the UK, the Information Commissioner has recently taken steps to address these concerns through the announcement of a ‘Regulatory Sandbox’.
On 8 July 2019, the UK data protection authority issued a notice of its intention to fine British Airways GBP 183.39 million (approx. USD 229.46 million) for infringements of the General Data Protection Regulation. The proposed fine relates to a data breach in which personal data of approximately 500,000 customers were compromised.
The French Data Protection Authority has made targeted online advertising a priority topic in its 2019-2020 agenda and has changed its position on cookie consent. Although the ePrivacy Regulation is still being debated by EU legislators and is far from being finalised, the CNIL has withdrawn its 2013 cookie recommendation and announced that it will publish new guidelines (announcements are available in English on the CNIL’s website here and here). These explicitly rule out the use of implied or “soft” consent to place cookies on users’ devices.
Join us in July as we explore the meaning of privacy, what a federal privacy law in the U.S. might include, cyberthreats in the Internet of Things, medical device cybersecurity in Europe, and more. We hope you can join us.
On June 13, 2019, a new draft bill imposing multi-million ruble fines for infringing Russian data localization and information security laws—multiplying the maximum penalty under current law by a magnitude of 240—was submitted to the State Duma (the lower chamber of Russian Parliament). This would supplement existing fines, which we reported were previously increased in 2017.
On 6 June, 2019, the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data issued an enforcement notice against Cathay Pacific Airways (and its affiliate Hong Kong Dragon Airlines) (together, “Cathay Pacific”) in respect of a data breach concerning unauthorized access to the personal data of some 9.4 million Cathay Pacific customers.
On May 28, 2019, the Cyberspace Administration of China released the draft Measures on the Administration of Data Security for public consultation. This Data Security Measures will be a great leap forward in China’s current data protection landscape, which mainly consists of scattered provisions contained in various pieces of legislations and standards, such as the Cyber Security Law, the E-Commerce Law, the Consumer Rights Protection Law as well as the Personal Information Security Specification, the most comprehensive yet non-binding national standard with respect to data protection. The Data Security Measures, once officially promulgated, will be the first binding administrative regulation in China to specifically and systematically set out explicit protection for personal data and important data collected and processed through the use of cyber technologies, following the effectiveness of the Cyber Security Law in 2017.
Although South Africa’s first comprehensive piece of data protection legislation, the Protection of Personal Information Act, was originally signed into law in November 2013, the substantive provisions of the law have not yet taken legal effect. That is likely to change since South Africa’s data protection authority, the Information Regulator, published the final draft of its POPIA regulations in December 2018.
A number of legislative proposals seeking to amend the California Consumer Privacy Act are moving forward following an April 23 hearing before the California Assembly’s Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection in which the bills were approved. The bills will now advance to the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee before being voted on by the full Assembly and potentially advancing to the California Senate for consideration.
The European Data Protection Board has adopted the narrowest possible interpretation of ‘contractual necessity’ as a ground for processing of personal data. The Guidelines 2/2019 on the processing of personal data under Article 6(1)(b) GDPR in the context of the provision of online services to data subjects (adopted on April 9, 2019 and open for consultation until May 24, 2019) provide a detailed assessment of the regulator’s interpretation of the law.
2018 was a momentous year for data protection and cyber security regulation globally – the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was, of course, the main event. The shockwaves of GDPR hit APAC with full force, coupled with the promulgation of an important GDPR-inspired national standard in China and the tabling of a draft data protection law in India that shares the same lineage. Rising public awareness of data protection concerns, due to the ever increasing volume and scale of cyber incidents in APAC, means that these issues are front and centre for organizations in terms of brand values, effective risk management and stewardship of increasingly valuable data assets. Our Guide provides a practical toolkit for organizations seeking to create an effective data protection and cyber security compliance program.
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.
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.
On February 27, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it settled with the operators of a video social networking app for a record civil penalty of $5.7 million under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). This FTC COPPA action was notable not just for the size of the penalty, but also because of the joint statement by the two Democratic Commissioners, Rebecca Slaughter and Rohit Chopra, that future FTC enforcement should seek to hold corporate officers and directors accountable for violations of consumer protection law.