Litigation

Irish High Court Refers Schrems 2.0 to the ECJ

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On April 11, Justice Caroline Costello of the Irish High Court referred the Schrems 2.0 case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) with 11 questions for the ECJ to answer. Per Justice Costello, the sole issue in the case is whether the European Commission’s Decisions regarding standard contractual clauses (SCCs) are valid, which is reflected in the 11 questions posed. The reference asks the ECJ to determine: Whether provisions of EU law related to national security, public security, defense, and state security apply to transfers of data outside the EU under SCCs; Whether [...] Read more

Belgian Court Uses Novel Argument to Assume International Jurisdiction over Non-EU Facebook Entities

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On February 16, 2018, the Brussels Court of First Instance rendered a judgment in proceedings brought by the Belgian Privacy Commission’s against Facebook. The case forms one part of two-tiered litigation brought by the Commission in regards to alleged monitoring practices vis-à-vis Belgian internet users. In parallel to the proceedings that resulted in the judgment cited above, the Belgian Privacy Commission had also initiated a procedure referred to as “summary proceedings” against Facebook – and Facebook defeated the Privacy Commission’s claim before the Brussels Court of Appeal in [...] Read more

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

Lenovo Wins Second Motion to Dismiss in Adware Class Action

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By Jay Repko A California district court recently dismissed—for the second time—consumer claims that technology giant Lenovo Inc. violated New York’s Deceptive Acts and Practices Statute by selling laptops with preinstalled VisualDiscovery software that allegedly invades users’ privacy and exposes users to security breaches.  In reaching this decision, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. concluded that dismissal was warranted for two reasons: (i) the plaintiffs lacked standing and (ii) the plaintiffs failed to adequately allege actual damages. By its very terms, New York’s Deceptive [...] 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

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

Eighth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Scottrade Data Breach Suit

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a putative class action brought by customers of the brokerage firm Scottrade in the wake of an alleged data breach impacting Scottrade in 2013.  The named plaintiffs had asserted several contract-based claims against Scottrade, alleging that Scottrade had violated its contractual obligations to take adequate steps to safeguard the personal identifying information (“PII”) of its customers. The Eighth Circuit first considered whether the plaintiffs had adequately alleged standing.  [...] Read more

Northern District of Illinois Dismisses Barnes & Noble Data Breach Lawsuit

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Earlier this month, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered an order dismissing with prejudice a putative class action concerning a security breach affecting PIN pad devices at numerous Barnes & Noble locations.  The lawsuit, In re Barnes & Noble Pin Pad Litigation, No. 12-cv-8617 (N.D. Ill.), was brought by consumers who had used credit and debit cards at Barnes & Noble during the time period of the breach. The operative complaint pleaded several causes of action against Barnes & Noble, including breach of implied contract and the violation [...] Read more

France adopts new regime for privacy class actions

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A few weeks ago, France passed the Digital Republic Act which significantly enhances French citizens’ rights to privacy by offering new avenues to exercise rights and granting new powers to the French data protection authority. A recent amendment to the Data Protection Act, adopted November 18, 2016, goes a mile farther and introduces a new type of class action for privacy-related matters. Class actions were introduced into the French Consumer Code quite recently, in 2014. Although largely inspired by the U.S.-style class action, class actions in France have a slightly different scope: [...] Read more