On June 25, 2020, Sidley partner, Alan Raul, founder and co-head of Sidley’s privacy and cybersecurity practice, hosted Bruno Gencarelli, head of International Data Flows and Protection at the European Commission, for a Monitor-Side Chat.
The discussion focused largely on the Commission’s report on two years of the GDPR which was issued on 24 June 2020. Key themes of the report include:
- EU data protection authorities (“DPAs”) should increase their efforts towards the adoption of a harmonised approach to responding to cross-border investigations;
- a call for greater resources to be given to DPAs by EU Member States to ensure the GDPR is sufficiently enforced;
- a need for greater consistency among EU Member States on interpretations of the GDPR in national laws in order to avoid unnecessary burdens on companies; and
- greater utilisation of the data portability right under the GDPR to ensure individuals have greater involvement in the digital economy by enabling them to switch between different service providers and make use of other innovative services.
On 19 February 2020, the European Commission published a white paper on the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) in the EU (the “White Paper”). The White Paper forms part of the Commission President, Ursula Von der Leyen’s, digital strategy, one of the key pillars of her administration’s five year tenure, recognising that the EU has fallen behind the US and China with respect to the strategic deployment of AI. To tackle this problem, the Commission proposes a common EU approach to ‘speed up the uptake’ of AI in the EU, whilst also tackling the human and ethical implications of AI’s fast growing use in the EU, including the possible downsides of its use, such as opaque decision making and hidden, embedded gender and racial discrimination. In order to achieve a common EU approach to AI, and to create “trustworthy” AI that can rival developments in the US and China, the Commission proposes the creation of a regulatory framework for AI.
Ongoing confusion about lawful basis for data processing in a clinical study environment: European Data Protection Board and European Commission on the one hand and certain Member States on the other differ on the correct approach. Swiss sponsors operating clinical studies in the EU face ongoing uncertainty around the appropriate lawful basis for processing study subject personal data in spite of guidance being published by the European Commission and the European Data Protection Board.
Case: WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants  UKSC 12
In a decision that employers will welcome, the UK Supreme Court recently ruled that Morrison Supermarkets (Morrisons) was not vicariously liable for a data breach committed maliciously by a former employee who, acting to satisfy a personal vendetta against Morrisons, disclosed employee payroll data online.
On 20 March 2020, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) released a statement on the protection of personal data in connection with measures that public authorities and business organizations (including employers) are taking to address the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This statement is an extension of the statement released by the EDPB chair on 16 March 2020, (which can be accessed here). In its latest statement, the EDPB emphasises that EU data protection law (in particular, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”)) does not stand in the way of measures adopted to fight against COVID-19 – if these measures are necessary, proportionate and consistent with safeguards required under EU Member State laws. The EDPB statement also provides useful guidance for organisations to consider when adopting measures to lawfully process personal data during this time.
Overall, while EDPB statement may provide some reassurance to organizations with respect to COVID-19 measures, organizations will be advised to consider guidance issued by specific EU Member State data protection authorities as well. In particular, specific EU Member State data protection authorities have begun issuing COVID-19 guidance that is, at least in certain respects divergent: while certain data protection authorities are adopting a more restrictive approach (for example, the French CNIL), others are more permissible (for example, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office).
The COVID-19 crisis has created significant cybersecurity risks for organizations across the world, particularly arising from remote working, scams and phishing attacks, and weakened information governance controls. These risks warrant attention by legal counsel and information security officers in light of potentially significant adverse legal, financial and reputational consequences that could arise – all while the organization is dealing with effects of a global pandemic.
In addition to identifying the cybersecurity risks, we also consider key measures that organizations can consider adopting to reduce such risks, including measures recommended by the UK’s National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC), EU’s Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. The speed at which the COVID-19 crisis has evolved has meant that many organizations have not been able to deploy effective risk-reducing measures in a timely manner.
In light of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the ICO has today issued guidance on “Data protection and coronavirus: what you need to know” for data controllers. The ICO has also published advice for healthcare practitioners. Guidance has also been issued by many other Data Protection Authorities in other European countries. (more…)
This post seeks to help parties navigate issues arising from COVID-19 risks from an employment and privacy law perspective in both the United States and Europe.
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) presents significant issues for employers to navigate and significant consequences for employees across industries as COVID-19 reduces consumer spending, disrupts supply chains and presents challenges for managing workforces globally. Employers should be aware of their responsibilities and proactively put in place action plans to address this growing problem. Designing these plans, and addressing requested or mandated leaves and other restrictions on employee work, presents myriad employment law issues that may vary by jurisdiction. Employers are also likely to confront privacy questions as they seek information on employees’ and others’ health and travel across jurisdictions. In developing a plan, employers will want to consider these issues in a holistic and coordinated manner.
With the use of CCTV on the rise, it has become increasingly important for controllers to find a framework in which the conflicting rights of those who are subject to such surveillance are balanced. In its recent decision of TK v Asociaţia de Proprietari bloc M5A-ScaraA EU:C:2019:1064 (TK), the CJEU considered whether the processing carried out by CCTV cameras was necessary and proportionate for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the controller.