Two federal appeals courts recently published significant opinions that redefine the scope of government access to phone records, setting the stage for a complex debate in Congress over the future of bulk data collection under the Patriot Act. The pair of decisions, along with the outcome of a legislative debate that has roiled Congress this month, will define the permissible boundaries for government surveillance and contribute to the ongoing debate over government access to digital information in all forms. We summarize both decisions as well as the congressional debate below.
Hogan Lovells today published an update to the White Paper A Sober Look at National Security Access to Data in the Cloud, which compares national security access to data stored with Cloud service providers in a number of countries. The White Paper adds analyses of the laws of Brazil, Italy, and Spain, and reflects the April 2014 opinion of the European Court of Justice invalidating the EU Data Retention Directive. The updated paper now compares the national security access laws of the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
At the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board hearing yesterday in Washington, D.C., Hogan Lovells partner and privacy practice lead Christopher Wolf spoke on the issue of privacy and government surveillance and provided a transnational perspective on legal regimes that regulate government access to data. In 2012 and 2013, Hogan Lovells published four White Papers (available here, here, here, and here) on government access to data in the cloud. The findings of the national security access White Paper, A Sober Look at National Security Access to Data in the Cloud, were a focal point of yesterday’s discussion.
At the 35th annual Conference of Data Protection Authorities and Privacy Commissioners in Warsaw, Poland today, Hogan Lovells partner and privacy practice lead Christopher Wolf spoke on the issue of privacy and trade in light of the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations between the EU and the U.S. This post contains prepared remarks to the commissioner’s on the need for interoperable cross-border privacy standards and the merits of the U.S. privacy regime.
In the wake of information disclosed by Edward Snowden regarding the U.S. National Security Agency’s and Federal Bureau of Investigation’s actions through the PRISM program, two French individual liberties defense associations have filed a motion to open a criminal investigation regarding these actions which contains, in addition to claims against U.S. law enforcement entities, allegations against U.S.-based companies that provide Internet services.
The bromide that people in glass houses should not throw stones comes to mind when one hears European Union authorities criticizing the U.S. privacy framework as a whole because of the recent National Security Agency revelations.
Earlier this summer, EU Vice-President Viviane Reding called EU data protection reform “the answer to PRISM [one of the Snowden NSA disclosures]” and called PRISM a “wake-up call.” Reding said that the EU-U.S. safe harbor “may not be so safe after all” and warned that the commission will present a “solid assessment” of the safe harbor by the end of the year, ominously suggesting that the withdrawal of an adequacy finding for the safe harbor (required under EU law for it to remain in effect).
In an August 13 letter to Commissioner Viviane Reding, Article 29 Working Party Chair Jacob Kohnstamm requested more information regarding the United States’ national security surveillance program, including the widely-publicized PRISM program.
Hogan Lovells Privacy and Information Management Director Chris Wolf will moderate a free IAPP teleconference this Thursday, June 20, at 4 PM EDT on “The Implications of the NSA Leaks for Privacy Professionals.”