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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

ePrivacy Regulation Trilogue Negotiations Pushed back to Fall 2018; Final ePrivacy Regulation may not be in Place until 2020

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About this time last January, the European Parliament released its proposal for a new ePrivacy Regulation.  The intent of the ePrivacy Regulation is to replace the current ePrivacy regime – which consists of an ePrivacy Directive and a patchwork of local implementing legislation – with a uniform set of directly-applicable EU-wide rules.  Since the Parliament released its ePrivacy Regulation draft, both the European Council and the European Parliament have reviewed it and released their own revised drafts. The ePrivacy Regulation contains a number of important rules for companies.  Traditionally, [...] Read more

Challenge to Privacy Shield Dismissed by EU General Court

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In October of last year, we reported that digital rights advocacy group Digital Rights Ireland (“DRI”) had brought an action to annul the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.  DRI filed its challenge before the General Court of the European Union, which is the court of first instance in the EU system with exclusive jurisdiction over challenges to the validity of EU legal acts.  Last week, the General Court dismissed DRI’s challenge, meaning that Privacy Shield remains valid and in force. DRI based its Privacy Shield suit on Article 263 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), [...] 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

Professor Peter Swire Publishes his Expert Testimony from Schrems 2.0

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Peter Swire, Elizabeth and Thomas Holder Chair at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business and senior counsel at Alston & Bird, has made public his expert testimony from the landmark Irish High Court Case Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland Limited & Maximillian Schrems. Under the Irish Court’s rules, Swire was asked to provide an independent opinion on U.S. surveillance law to assist the Court in its decision. Swire’s testimony highlights U.S. systemic remedies, U.S. individual remedies, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court oversight, and the broader implications [...] Read more

New York Attorney General Announces Record Number of Data Breach Notices in 2016

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On March 21, 2017, New York Attorney General (NYAG) Eric T. Schneiderman announced that his office had received a record breaking 1,282 data breach notices to his office affecting 1.6 million New York residents during 2016. Compared to 2015, these figures represent a 60 percent increase in the number of notices and a 300 percent increase in the number of New York residents affected. These research figures build on the NYAG’s 2014 report “Information Exposed: Historical Examination of Data Security in New York State,” which analyzed eight years of security breach statistics in New York from [...] Read more

What Will Trump’s Executive Order Do to U.S. Privacy Law and EU-U.S. Data Transfers?

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On the third day of his presidency, President Trump signed an immigration-related executive order raising significant questions about the future of U.S. privacy law and EU-U.S. data transfers.  The order, titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” (“Executive Order”), directs agencies to “ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.”[1] The Executive Order has raised a number of questions, among them, [...] Read more

Spanish DPA Issues GDPR Guidelines

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On January 26, 2017, the Spanish data protection authority (“AEPD”) published three guidance papers on the implementation of the general data protection regulation (“GDPR”). Although the guidance is primarily directed at small and medium-sized companies, it gives a snapshot on how the AEPD reads the GDPR and is thus relevant for all companies having operations in Spain. GDPR Guide for Controllers: the guide summarizes the requirements of the GDPR while providing practical recommendations on how to implement them. The guide also contains a questionnaire to help controllers make a [...] Read more

AG Empowers EU Privacy Suits with Redress Act Designations

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Earlier this week, the U.S. Attorney General designated 26 countries and the European Union as “covered countr[ies]” under the Judicial Redress Act. The Attorney General has simultaneously designated 13 “Federal agenc[ies] or component[s]” under the Act. These designations enable citizens of the “covered countr[ies]” to sue and seek remedies in U.S. court if one of the designated “Federal agenc[ies] or component[s]” violates the Privacy Act of 1974. The Privacy Act protects against intentional or willful unlawful disclosure of covered records containing personal information and [...] Read more

WP29 Issues Guidance on the Right to Data Portability under the GDPR

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Late last week, the Article 29 Working Party (“WP29”) issued detailed guidance on companies’ obligations under three key provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR").  This is part two of a three-part Alston & Bird series evaluating WP29's positions, and relates to the Right of Data Portability for data subjects and its obligations for data controllers.  Part 1 deals with Data Protection Officer obligations, under the GDPR, while part 3 analyzes guidance on the Lead Supervisory Authority mechanism. Article 20 of the GDPR creates a new right to data portability [...] Read more