Greater Protection for Individuals and Larger Fines for Organisations Under a New UK Data Protection Bill

In a statement of intent published on 7 August 2017, the UK Government has committed to updating and strengthening data protection laws through a new Data Protection Bill (the “Bill”). The Bill will incorporate the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) into UK law.

According to the UK’s Minister of State for Digital, Matt Hancock, the Bill will “give [the UK] one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world. The Bill will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit.”

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D.C. Circuit Widens the Split on Standing in Data Breach Cases After Spokeo

The D.C. Circuit recently widened a significant circuit split regarding standing in data breach cases by overturning a district court’s dismissal of a complaint for lack of standing. See Attias v. CareFirst, Inc., D.C. Cir. No. 16-7108.

Courts have long been occupied by the question of whether the mere fact of having personal information subject to unauthorized acquisition is, in itself, an injury sufficient for standing. Hopes were high that the Supreme Court would resolve the issue in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016).  In that case, the Supreme Court held that plaintiffs who allege violations of statutes that contain a private right of action and statutory damages must establish not only “invasion of a legally protected interest,” but also that they suffered a “concrete and particularized” harm, in order to satisfy Article III’s standing requirement.  Defense counsel were cheered by the restatement of the law of standing, but plaintiffs have argued that Spokeo opened the door for even the most minor of statutory violations even in the absence of quantifiable damage.  The Spokeo ruling has had substantial but unpredictable implications for data breach litigation. Federal courts of appeals have subsequently reached different conclusions about how Spokeo applies to allegations of an increased risk of identity theft following a data breach with several circuits overtly splitting over the issue.

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Singapore’s Privacy Watchdog Proposes Changes to Personal Data Protection Act

Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) has launched a public consultation into a proposed revision to the law that would require reporting of certain data breaches. Singapore currently uses a voluntary approach to data breach notifications, but, according to the PDPC, this has resulted in uneven notification practices. Under the proposals, it will be mandatory for organizations to inform customers of personal data breaches that pose any risk of impact or harm to the affected individual as soon as they are discovered. If an incident involves 500 or more individuals, organizations will need to notify the PDPC as soon as possible but no later than 72 hours after discovery of the breach. The proposals aim to allow individuals to take steps to protect their interests in the event of a data breach, for example, by changing their password.

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House Panel Advances Bill to Ease Safety Restrictions on Autonomous Vehicles

Federal legislation on the regulation of self-driving cars may be gaining traction.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bipartisan bill that would ease safety restrictions on self-driving cars and preempt state laws banning “highly automated systems” or self-driving vehicles to allow designers to test and deploy cars on the road.  The Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act (the “SELF DRIVE Act”) bill passed the House Committee with a 54-0 vote.  It would facilitate the release by automakers of 25,000 automated vehicles in the first year and up to 100,000 automated vehicles annually, starting in the third year after the bill’s effective date. 

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CJEU Rules on EU-Canadian Passenger Name Record Agreement; Data Retention Possible; Detailed Court Scrutiny to Ensure Proportionality

On 26 July 2017, the Court of Justice of the EU (“Court”) issued its Opinion on the proposed EU-Canada Agreement on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record data (“PNR Data”).  The opinion, issued by the Court’s Grand Chamber, confirms that the Court accepts the necessity of processing large amounts of personal data to protect against terrorism in general.  However, in order to ensure compliance with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (“the Charter”), the Court will scrutinize the details of any EU legislative act to ensure that no data are retained or accessed without a clear link to the underlying justification of combating terrorism.

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The Belgian Data Protection Authority Publishes Guidance on Records of Processing Activities Under the GDPR

The Belgian Commission for the Protection of Privacy (“Privacy Commission”) has recently published guidance on Article 30 of the GDPR which contains the obligation for data controllers and processors to record their processing activities.

This record will have to be up-to-date by 25 May 2018 and readily made available to the regulator should it ask to view it.

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Federal Agencies Focus on Risks, Guidance for Internet of Things

Businesses and consumers are increasingly using Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices to communicate and process quantities and types of information that have never before been captured.  In response, more federal agencies are turning their attention to the potential risks, and developing guidance for the deployment of IoT technologies.  The latest to weigh in on risks include the Governmental Accountability Office and the Department of Commerce.

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