The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform has published “Ill-Suited: Private Rights of Action and Privacy Claims,” a white paper authored by Hogan Lovells’ Mark W. Brennan, Alicia Paller, Adam Cooke, and Joseph Cavanaugh explaining why private litigation is a poor enforcement tool for privacy laws. As detailed in the paper, when it comes to privacy interests, “harms” are largely inchoate and intangible, and the wrongdoers are often unknown or unidentifiable. Even where class members may have suffered a concrete injury, the data indicates that they are unlikely to receive material compensatory or injunctive relief through private litigation. Meanwhile, plaintiffs’ counsel often walks away with millions of dollars, court dockets are unduly cluttered, and companies are forced to expend resources on baseless litigation.
Join us on Thursday 19 September for the Hogan Lovells Privacy and Cybersecurity KnowledgeShare in London. We will share our latest thinking on the key privacy and cybersecurity issues faced by those with data protection responsibilities within organisations. Our all-day event will cover a lot of ground through incisive quick-fire presentations, Q&A panels and hands-on workshops.
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.
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.
The sky has not fallen. The Internet has not stopped working. The multi-million euro fines have not happened (yet). It was always going to be this way. A year has gone by since the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) (‘GDPR’) became effective and the digital economy is still going and growing. The effect of the GDPR has been noticeable, but in a subtle sort of way. However, it would be hugely mistaken to think that the GDPR was just a fad or a failed attempt at helping privacy and data protection survive the 21st century. The true effect of the GDPR has yet to be felt as the work to overcome its regulatory challenges has barely begun. So what are the important areas of focus to achieve GDPR compliance?
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most controversial elements of the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) is the establishment of an “anti-discrimination” right – businesses may not “discriminate” against consumers for exercising certain rights under the CCPA, and they will need to assess whether and how they can require consumers to accept certain data practices as a condition of service. Compliance would be challenging even if the provision were articulated clearly, but as we have discussed in this blog series, the accelerated drafting process and passage of the CCPA earlier this year left little time for public comment and responsive amendments. As a result, the law includes a series of ambiguities that complicate compliance, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the anti-discrimination provision.
This entry in Hogan Lovells’ ongoing series on the CCPA focuses on the law’s anti-discrimination clause, its ambiguities and potentially contradictory provisions, and impact on businesses.
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.
Regulators provided key insights into enforcement trends and potential changes to HIPAA regulations at the 11th Annual “Safeguarding Health Information: Building Assurance Through HIPAA Security” conference in October co-hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
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.
The application of the California Consumer Protection Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) to employee data has been the subject of much debate since the first version of the bill was introduced on June 21, 2018 (just days prior to its enactment on June 28). Under a plain language reading of the CCPA, the law likely applies to employee data. However, it is unclear whether the California legislature intended that result. There is no clarity to be found in the general statutory structure, the legislative history, legislative responses to advocate letters, or the technical amendments signed into law on September 23. As part of our ongoing series on the CCPA, this post lays out why the issue of CCPA applicability to employees is controversial and nevertheless offers potential strategies to address CCPA compliance requirements as they may relate to personnel records.
On September 27, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced proposed settlement agreements with four companies it alleges violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by misrepresenting their certification status and compliance with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. This latest set of enforcement actions brings the FTC’s Privacy Shield related enforcement to settlements with eight defendants since the framework was adopted in July 2016 and it also introduced a couple of new FTC models of Privacy Shield enforcement.
As the most comprehensive privacy law to be enacted in the United States thus far, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has inevitably invited comparisons to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). At first glance, it is clear that the drafters of the CCPA (and the ballot measure that spurred its passage) drew inspiration from the GDPR. However, the CCPA is not a carbon copy of the GDPR, and a GDPR compliance program will not automatically meet the requirements of the CCPA. As businesses begin their CCPA compliance efforts, awareness of these laws’ similarities and differences will be key to creating efficient and effective compliance programs that capitalize on prior GDPR compliance work but also address the unique nuances of the CCPA.
The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) provides a series of new compliance obligations and operational challenges for companies doing business in California. A vital first step for any company subject to the CCPA and looking to forge a practical path forward is to inventory the personal information (“PI”) that the company collects, stores, and shares with others. As part of our ongoing series on the CCPA and its implications, this post sets out key issues and questions to consider when contemplating a data mapping exercise.
Words matter. Nowhere is this truer than in legislation, where word choices—often the product of long debate and imperfect compromise—determine the scope and impact of a law. Legislative history can speak volumes about those word choices, and the unique legislative history of the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) only highlights the importance of understanding the terms used in the act. We thus focus here on discussing some of the CCPA’s key definitional terms.
We have heard the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) called many things since its enactment on June 28, 2018. Our experience to date has confirmed the compliance challenge ahead for organizations that engage with the residents of the world’s fifth-largest economy. We will explore the ramifications for businesses of this seminal legislation in this multi-part series, “The Challenge Ahead” authored by members of Hogan Lovells’ CCPA team. In this first installment, we describe recent activity to enact so-called “technical” amendments to the CCPA.
On July 24, members of the Hogan Lovells global privacy team presented a webinar on the new California Consumer Privacy Act, a ground-breaking new data privacy law that some are calling the United States’ answer to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. In this post, we provide links to the recorded webinar and slide deck.
On June 28, 2018, California’s governor signed Assembly Bill 375, a ground-breaking new data privacy law that some are calling the United States’ answer to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Particularly in light of California’s status as the world’s 5th largest economy, many are wondering how the new California Consumer Privacy Act will affect them. Please join members of the Hogan Lovells global privacy team for a live webinar on July 24 to learn what you should be focusing on now.