Enforcement

Privacy & Data Security Team Launches Unique GDPR Tracker Website

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“To Harmonize or Not To Harmonize: That Is the Question.” With the the GDPR fast approaching on May 25, 2018, European Member States are getting ready with the implementation of national legislation. Although the GDPR is a regulation, and directly applicable in all Member States, it has left room for country-specific legislation in several different regards (such as the processing of employee data or individual rights restrictions). Most Member States still only have draft legislation at this point, but the expectation (or at least intention) is that each country will have adopted legislation [...] Read more

ECJ Rules against Schrems Class Action, Sets Up Jurisdictional Questions for GDPR Class Actions

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In late 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its initial Schrems decision, invalidating the EU/US Safe Harbor and leading to important developments in the rules for transferring personal data from the EU to the US.  Since that decision, Mr. Schrems has pursued two further legal proceedings in the EU. The first involves Mr. Schrems’ challenge in the Irish courts to EU Standard Contractual Clauses, which permit data to be transferred internationally between contract parties.  In the trial,  Alston & Bird Special Counsel Peter Swire testified as an expert on US national [...] Read more

Data Protection Litigation to Become a New Reality in Belgium

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On November 16, 2017 the Belgian Senate adopted an “Act on the Establishment of the Data Protection Authority” (the “Act”). Following Austria, Germany, and the UK, Belgium is the fourth EU Member State to pass a domestic statute implementing the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (“GDPR”) prior to its effective date of 25 May 2018. The new Belgian Act sets forth the structure and legal organization of the Data Protection Authority (“DPA”), which will serve as the successor of the current Belgian Privacy Commission. More importantly, the Act significantly broadens the DPA’s [...] Read more

EU DPAs and the Future of Privacy Shield

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The Article 29 Working Party group (WP29) of European data protection authorities recently announced that they will legally challenge the adequacy of the Privacy Shield Framework unless the U.S. government addresses certain “prioritized concerns” by May 25, 2018. Privacy Shield provides a framework which helps over 2500+ participating U.S. companies legally transfer EU personal data to the United States. The WP29 announcement follows a report and press release from the European Commission in October which stated that “the Privacy shield continues to ensure an adequate level of protection.” [...] Read more

An English-Language Primer on Germany’s GDPR Implementation Statute: Part 5 of 5

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Over the past year, the German government has been working on legislation to implement the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  On July 6, 2017, Germany did so by passing a statute titled the Data Protection Amendments and Implementation Act. The Act repeals Germany’s venerated Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz, or BDSG) and replaces it with an entirely new BDSG, aptly referred to as the “BDSG-New.” Germany becomes the first EU Member State to pass a GDPR implementation statute. Given Germany’s reputation as one of, if not the, most serious privacy jurisdiction [...] Read more

Virginia Amends Data Breach Notification Law

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Virginia amended the state’s data breach notification law, effective July 1, 2017, to expand notification requirements for employers and payroll service providers to data breaches that involve “unauthorized access and acquisition of unencrypted and unredacted computerized data containing a [Virginia] taxpayer’s identification number in combination with the income tax withheld for that taxpayer. . . .”[1] The expanded notification obligation is subject to the same likelihood of harm threshold that applies in the original law. Notification is required only when the employer or payroll [...] Read more

David Keating, Jan Dhont and Karen Sanzaro to Speak at the 2017 Privacy + Security Forum

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David Keating, partner and co-leader of the firm’s Privacy & Data Security practice, Jan Dhont, Brussels partner and head of the firm’s European Privacy and Data Protection practice, and Karen Sanzaro, counsel in the Technology & Privacy Group, will be speakers at the 2017 Privacy + Security Forum in Washington, DC, taking place on October 4-6, 2017. David Keating will be speaking during the session on “Emerging Consumer Tracking and Analytics Technologies.” This session will explore recent regulatory and enforcement developments in this area and discuss practical approaches [...] Read more

FTC Announces First Privacy Shield Enforcement Actions

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The Federal Trade Commission recently announced that it had settled charges against three companies alleged to have falsely claimed participation in Privacy Shield. Privacy Shield supports EU – U.S. transfers of personal data by helping U.S. companies demonstrate compliance with European Union data transfer rules. Companies participating in the program commit to meet specific program requirements designed to protect and limit use of personal data. These requirements include notice, choice, controls on onward transfers of data, independent recourse, and data security. Privacy Shield also requires [...] Read more

FTC Updates Data Security Guidance for Businesses

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In June, the Federal Trade Commission released a new guide for businesses on implementing sound data security protections and procedures. In “Protecting Personal Information: A Guide For Business,” the FTC offers “10 practical lessons” based on the numerous enforcement actions brought by the FTC. The guide offers insight into the thinking of this key federal regulator. Key points from the guide: “Start with Security.” Build information security considerations into business processes so that they are part of “the decisionmaking in every department of your business.” The FTC [...] Read more

Facebook Fined for WhatsApp Data Linking Fallout

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On 18 May 2017, the European Commission (“Commission”) fined Facebook €110 million ($122 million) for misrepresentations made in its application for competition clearance of the company’s acquisition of WhatsApp. In its merger application, Facebook claimed that it would be unable to automatically match Facebook users’ accounts and WhatsApp users’ accounts for marketing and other purposes. However, in August 2016, WhatsApp introduced functionality enabling the linking of WhatsApp users’ phone numbers with Facebook users’ identities. This is the first time since the new Merger Regulation [...] Read more