2016 was a year of seismic changes in the global data protection and privacy landscape. Here, we look back at the top ten events and issues that shaped 2016, and are poised to shape the year ahead as well.
Year In Review
1. GDPR Adoption
On April 14, the European Parliament voted to adopt the long-awaited EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), formally completing adoption of the GDPR. The GDPR was published in the Official Journal of the EU on May 25, 2016, giving companies and Member States until the May 25, 2018 effective date to implement the Regulation fully. In the wake of its adoption, businesses should have planning under way for implementation of the significantly expanded Regulation by evaluating whether they are subject to the expanded jurisdiction, and if so, completing an internal gap analysis of current data protection practices as compared with the new requirements and rights under the Regulation. Some of the key aspects to consider include data breach response planning under the new 72-hour notice requirement, reviewing existing data protection notices and consents for the more robust obligations, identifying current profiling activities and existing data protection and retention policies and procedures, ensuring privacy impact assessments are carried out where required, and evaluating whether there is an obligation to appoint a data protection officer. Despite the time until the effective date, the extensive preparation necessary to comply presents a challenge as companies around the world refocus resources to develop compliance plans.
2. Political Cyber Warfare
There is a new front in geopolitical battles. (more…)
On November 7, 2016, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China promulgated the Cyber Security Law of the People’s Republic of China (the “Cyber Security Law”) after three rounds of readings in June 2015, June and October 2016, respectively. The Cyber Security Law will enter into force on June 1, 2017. As early as July 1, 2015, the National Security Law of the People’s Republic of China was promulgated, expressly providing that the state shall “safeguard sovereignty and security of cyberspace in the state,” a theme that is reiterated and emphasized in Article 1 of the Cyber Security Law. The introduction of the concept of “cyber space sovereignty” in the Cyber Security Law echoes the views of President Xi Jinping, who is also the head of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, and who has stated in February 2014 that “[n]o cyber safety means no national security.” Critically, the Cyber Security Law may have global implications, as the Law applies to both Chinese and international businesses engaging in the construction, operation, maintenance or use of information networks in China.
On Sept. 6, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (the HKMA) announced two initiatives targeted at raising Hong Kong’s profile as a fintech hub: the setting up of the Fintech Innovation Hub (the Hub) and the Fintech Supervisory Sandbox (the Sandbox).
The Singapore government has renewed its emphasis on cybersecurity due to the increase in incidents affecting the private and public sectors both domestically and around the world. As a result, Singapore set up its Cyber Security Agency (CSA) on April 1, 2015, to oversee strategy, education, outreach and industry development. On April 11, 2016, Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, announced that the government would develop a Cybersecurity Act (Cybersecurity Bill), which is expected to be tabled in Parliament next year.
South Korea has enacted stricter penalties for violations of data protection or privacy requirements by telecommunications and online service providers, including potentially steep damages in the wake of a data breach. The amendment (the “Amendment”) to South Korea’s Act on the Promotion of IT Network Use and Information Protection (“Network Act”) became law on March 22, 2016 and will become effective on September 23, 2016. The Network Act regulates and protects the personal information of individuals (“Information Subjects”) that are collected, used and disclosed by telecommunications and online service providers (“Service Providers.”) Overall, the Amendment provides heavier penalties for violating privacy provisions in the Network Act. The increased penalties and stricter privacy standards are consistent with recent amendments in other Korean privacy laws, such as the Personal Information Protection Act and the Utilization and Protection of Credit Information Act.
On January 1, 2016, China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee enacted the new Anti-Terrorism Law (反恐怖主义法) that gives broad powers to the Chinese authorities to access and handle data held by telecommunications operators and internet providers (together, “Technology Companies”). This law provides a legal framework to compel Technology Companies to cooperate and assist the Chinese authorities to combat the threat of “terrorism.”
The second edition of The Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity Law Review appears as the world is converging on more privacy laws that cover more areas of business and are subject to more enforcement. Several Sidley lawyers in the Privacy, Data Security and Information Law practice have contributed to this publication, including Alan Charles Raul, William RM Long, Geraldine Scali, Catherine M. Valerio Barrad, Yuet Ming Tham, Jillian Lee, Takahiro Nonaka, Tasha D. Manoranjan, and Vivek K. Mohan. For a closer look at this developing area of law, please visit http://www.sidley.com/the-privacy-data-protection-and-cybersecurity-law-review-11-2015.
On April 24, 2015, China amended its Advertising Law for the first time since its initial promulgation in 1994. The amended Advertising Law (the “Amended Law”) will take effect on September 1, 2015. In the absence of a comprehensive data protection law in China, the Amended Law introduces certain provisions addressing data and privacy issues, in addition to existing data privacy rules which are scattered in various laws and regulations.
On July 1, 2015, China’s top legislature adopted a new National Security Law (中华人民共和国国家安全法), highlighting cyber security and paving the way for a coordinated crisis management system. The law aims to provide a general legislative framework to cover a wide range of areas, ranging from finance, politics, the military and cyber security to culture, ideology and religion.