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

Irish High Court refers Facebook’s data case to the European Court of Justice

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In what it considered “an unusual case” (available here), the Irish High Court has referred the issue of the way data is transferred between the EU and countries outside the EU to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”). Ms. Justice Caroline Costello will ask the CJEU for a preliminary ruling on the validity of the Standard Contractual Clauses (“SCCs”) as an adequate data transfer mechanism. Justice Costello did not comment on the laws of the EU or the US, but rather on the validity of SCCs as a data transfer measure between the EU and the US. The case arose from a complaint [...] 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

WP29’s Guidance on the Lead Supervisory Authority

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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 three of a three-part Alston & Bird series evaluating WP29's positions, and relates to  the “One Stop Shop” mechanism which aims at simplifying the way companies with operations in multiple EU countries interact with the EU supervisory authorities (“SAs”). Part 1 deals with Data Protection Officer Obligations, under the GDPR, while part 2 analyzes guidance on the Right to Data Portability. The [...] Read more

A Brief Overview of the Privacy Shield

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A one page summary is now available to help U.S. organizations initially evaluate whether the Privacy Shield represents a viable mechanism to legitimize their transfer of personal data from the European union. The summary lists the key features and requirements of the Privacy Shield, some of which were contained in the now-invalidated EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Framework, but have been made more stringent. Our Information Security & Privacy Team also is compiling a detailed checklist to help corporations identify the specific requirements to certify for the Privacy Shield. [...] Read more

Updated Schrems ECJ / Safe Harbor Ruling FAQs

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Alston & Bird has published an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the decision by the European Court of Justice holding that the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework is invalid (also known as the Schrems decision). The FAQs are designed to help companies that rely on the Safe Harbor Framework understand the scope of the ECJ decision and think through options to continue to move personal data from the European Economic Area to the United States.  Our new version incorporates updates based on developments since October 15.  Please see our original blog entry on the decision here. [...] Read more

A Busy Month for German Data Protection

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The European Court of Justice handed down its Schrems decision invalidating the Safe Harbor mechanism on October 6, 2015.  Since then, companies have been looking to the Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) of EU member states to see how the decision would be interpreted and enforced. As many companies know, Germany is a multifaceted data-protection landscape.  Germany maintains seventeen (17) independent DPAs.  Sixteen of these DPAs are run by the German states (or Länder), and these state-run DPAs are primarily responsible for overseeing private companies.  The remaining DPA is run by Germany’s [...] Read more

European Commission Releases Communication on Schrems and Safe Harbor 2.0

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On November 6, 2015, the European Commission released a widely-anticipated Communication assessing the impact of the judgment of the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) in the Schrems case (C-362/14), which invalidated the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework.  Though the Communication is not legally binding, it provides useful guidance to companies on transfers of personal data to the United States in the absence of the Safe Harbor mechanism. The Commission’s Communication is consistent with analysis and approach outlined by the European data protection authorities (“DPA”) in their October [...] Read more