On July 10, 2023, the European Commission published its final Adequacy Decision for EU-U.S. data transfers. The draft decision reflects the multi-year coordination between the EU and U.S. to identify and implement a lasting solution to facilitate international data transfers following the Court of Justice of the European Union’s judgment in Schrems II. The EU’s adequacy decision determines that the U.S., through the newly created EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework, provides comparable safeguards to those of the EU and ensures an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred from the EU to certified organizations in the U.S.
On 14 June 2023, the European Parliament adopted – by a large majority – its compromise text for the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act (“AI Act”), paving the way for the three key EU Institutions (the European Council, Commission and Parliament) to start the ‘trilogue negotiations’. This is the last substantive step in the legislative process and it is now expected that the AI Act will be adopted and become law on or around December 2023 / January 2024. The AI Act will be a first-of-its-kind AI legislation with extraterritorial reach.
On 29 March 2023, the UK’s Department for Science Innovation and Technology (“DSIT”) published its long awaited White Paper on its “pro-innovation approach to AI regulation” (the “White Paper”), along with a corresponding impact assessment. The White Paper builds on the “proportionate, light touch and forward-looking” approach to AI regulation set out in the policy paper published in July 2022. Importantly, the UK has decided to take a different approach to regulating AI compared to the EU, opting for a decentralised sector-specific approach, with no new legislation expected at this time. Instead, the UK will regulate AI primarily through sector-specific, principles based guidance and existing laws, with an emphasis on an agile and innovation-friendly approach. This is in significant contrast to the EU’s proposed AI Act which is a standalone piece of horizontal legislation regulating all AI systems, irrespective of industry.
The European Union is moving closer to adopting the first major legislation to horizontally regulate artificial intelligence. Today, the European Parliament (Parliament) reached a provisional agreement on its internal position on the draft Artificial Intelligence Regulation (AI Act). The text will be adopted by Parliament committees in the coming weeks and by the Parliament plenary in June. The plenary adoption will trigger the next legislative step of trilogue negotiations with the European Council to agree on a final text. Once adopted, according to the text, the AI Act will become applicable 24 months after its entry into force (or 36 months according to the Council’s position), which is currently expected in the second half of 2025, at the earliest.
The new EU Regulation on Digital Operational Resilience for the Financial Sector (DORA) recently entered into force. DORA establishes cybersecurity requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) systems supporting the business processes of financial entities and represents a paradigm shift for the ICT sector. Critical ICT third-party service providers, who are providing services to regulated financial entities, will also be directly regulated under DORA and subject to regulatory supervision by a regulator to be established under DORA (a so-called ‘Lead Overseer’).
On 4 April 2023, John Edwards, the UK’s Information Commissioner, stated that the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) would be “going after providers of women’s health apps and auditing them, and getting them to change any practices that are non-compliant.” Speaking at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit in Washington DC, the Information Commissioner indicated that this proposed strategy forms part of the ICO’s new “agile” initiative, which will focus on “areas of vulnerability, targeting…intervention [where] that has the greatest impact”.
On 8 March 2023, the newly created Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (“DSIT”) introduced the Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill. The “Bill” is in substance a re-introduction of the previous Data Protection and Digital Information Bill which was withdrawn from Parliament on the same day as the new Bill was published. The Bill, which has been hailed by the UK Government as one that will “save billions” and “cut down pointless paperwork” is the UK’s latest attempt to create a more streamlined piece of data protection legislation for the UK whilst still “ensur[ing] data adequacy.” The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) also welcomed the re-introduction of the Bill, with the Commissioner stating that he would “support [the Bill’s] ambition.” While much of the Bill remains the same as its previous iteration, we set out the key provisions and notable amendments below.
The EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) is set to revolutionize the way in which so-called ‘Big Tech’ is regulated in the EU, shifting toward ex-ante rulemaking and away from traditional after-the-fact enforcement. The DMA imposes a stringent regulatory regime on large online platforms (so-called “gatekeepers”) and gives the European Commission (Commission) new enforcement powers, including an ability to impose severe fines and remedies for noncompliance.
On 17 January 2023, the new Network and Information Systems Security Directive (“NIS2 Directive”), which is aimed at establishing a minimum level of cybersecurity standards across the EU and is set to replace its predecessor (the NIS or “NIS1 Directive”), entered into force. The new NIS2 Directive aims to further harmonize and strengthen cybersecurity and resilience throughout the EU in response to a continued increase in digitization and rise in cyber (and in particular ransomware) threats – which is estimated to have reached a total cost of €5.5 trillion at the end of 2020 (double the figure of 2015) and continues to rise in the EU and globally notably due to ongoing geopolitical conflicts in Ukraine and Russia. (more…)
The ninth edition of The Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity Law Review provides a global overview of the legal and regulatory regimes governing data privacy and security, and covers areas such as data processors’ obligations, data subject rights, data transfers and localization, best practices for minimizing cyber risk, public and private enforcement, and an outlook for future developments. Several lawyers from Sidley’s global Privacy and Cybersecurity practice have contributed to this publication. See the chapters below for a closer look at this developing area of law.