With the midterm election out of the way, legislators on Capitol Hill and in state capitols are getting ready to consider the future of data privacy regulation in 2019 and consumer and industry groups continue to weigh in on the ongoing debate. The debate has begun to move from principles and frameworks to drafting of legislative language.
On November 23, 2018, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) published draft guidelines seeking to clarify the territorial scope of the GDPR (“Guidelines”). The Guidelines have been eagerly awaited, particularly by controllers and processors outside of the EU looking for confirmation as to whether or not the EU data protection rules apply to them. The Guidelines largely reaffirm prior interpretations of the GDPR’s territorial application under Article (3)(1), and offer essential guidance with respect to the GDPR’s – heavily debated – extraterritorial application under Article (3)(2). The GDPR applies to companies established in the EU as well as companies outside of the EU that are “targeting” individuals in the EU (by offering them products or services) or monitoring their behavior (as far as that behavior takes place in the EU).
The proposed Guidelines are open for public consultation until January 18, 2019. It remains to be seen whether and how any outstanding issues will have been addressed upon conclusion of the consultation. (more…)
On June 28, 2018, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (AB 375). According to the bill’s author, it was consciously designed to emulate the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that went into effect on May 25, and if and when it goes into effect, it would constitute the broadest privacy law in the United States. It is intended to give consumers more transparency regarding and control over their data and establishes highly detailed requirements for what companies that collect personal data about California residents must disclose. (more…)
On 11 June 2018, members of a Committee within the European parliament (“MEPs”) narrowly voted in favour of suspending the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”), an agreement that facilitates the transfer of personal data of EU data subjects to the U.S., unless the U.S. government fully complies with the Privacy Shield data protection requirements by 1 September 2018. Although the resolution is only a draft and has no legal effect, it reflects continued European concerns surrounding Privacy Shield. (more…)
In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission has increasingly exercised its enforcement authority to target deceptive and unfair information security practices. During this time, enforcement actions have targeted companies for failing to honor their promises to implement “reasonable” or “industry standard” security practices, defend against well-known security threats, put in place basic security measures, or take many other basic data security steps. And despite challengers arguing that the FTC provided insufficient notice before pursuing these actions or that the actions otherwise exceeded the FTC’s Section 5 enforcement authority, the Commission generally has a track record of successfully defending its prerogatives. (more…)
Although the prospect of federal legislation on data privacy remains uncertain, states appear to be stepping up the range of their activity on privacy and security. Washington State notably adopted a law on net neutrality and there is the prospect of a ballot initiative in California that would give individuals the right to know which categories of their or their children’s personal data have been collected or traded by businesses. Though Vermont is one of the smallest states, it has been active in privacy regulation and, on May 22, 2018, enacted the first state-level measure aimed at data brokers. (more…)
On May 15, 2018, various media outlets reported that the Trump administration decided to eliminate the position of White House Cybersecurity Coordinator. According to reports, John Bolton, appointed as National Security Adviser effective April 2018, had been instrumental in the decision that the position was no longer necessary based on the reasoning that the role was already addressed by other members of President Trump’s national security staff. The administration’s decision was met with sharp criticism, including from Democrats in Congress such as U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) who called the move “mindboggling” and cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier, who called it “a spectacularly bad idea.”
On March 6, 2018, Singapore announced that it has joined the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system as well as the APEC Privacy Recognition for Processors (PRP) program. Singapore is the sixth member of the CBPR system, which includes Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the United States, and is the second member of the PRP program after the US. (more…)
In recent years, the rise of cloud computing has led to more and more data being stored somewhere other than the jurisdiction in which it was created. This trend increasingly has led U.S. law enforcement officials to demand access to information held abroad, just as foreign officials increasingly want access to data held inside the United States. But satisfying these growing desires for cross-border access has proven complicated. The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process has not kept pace with the Internet-fueled increase in data requests, nor has a workable alternative to that process emerged. And questions remain as to whether relevant U.S. statutes authorize extraterritorial legal process. Even if law enforcement officials do have tools that allow them to seek data held elsewhere, the holders of such data may face a conflict between their obligations to respond to one country’s lawful process and the obligations to comply with another country’s privacy protections or blocking statutes. (more…)
On March 7, 2018, the U.S. Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved a new version of a bill (SB 2825) reauthorizing the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and including key cybersecurity provisions affecting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bill is considered a critical piece of legislation that many expect will need to pass before the Congressional recess in August 2018. It already passed the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2017, and will now be considered by the full Senate. (more…)